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Post Mortems: Café des Artistes Killed by the Union

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Upper West Side: As a final goodbye, Café des Artistes co-owner Jennifer Lang files a column about the closing of her storied 92 year-old restaurant. She explains how her husband bought the place, shares some olden days anecdotes—back in the day there was a phone line directly to the ABC newsroom "so that when a story broke the editors could call up the bar to round up the drunken reporters"—recognizes that it was never a destination for the food, and explains the final decision to shutter. It was due to her husband's age (85) and the decline in customer spending, but mainly, they were just sinking far too much money into the restaurant because of the union:

We are one of the very, very few independent restaurants in New York City that operates with a union...we are a dinosaur because the huge added expense of having a union restaurant can be crippling, especially when the economy takes a nosedive. Since 99% of the independent restaurants in New York City do not have a union, we are not playing on a level playing field...We pay approximately $250,000 more each year for health insurance and pension coverage for our employees...
A real shame.
· Tastings: Café des Artistes [212 Dressing Room]
· The Shutter: Summer of Death Claims Café des Artistes [~E~]

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