Box Kite, a St. Mark’s Place cafe that frequently landed on "best-of" lists for coffee in NYC, is now closed. The tiny shop received acclaim not just for its coffee, but for the tasting menus that Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino served before landing at Bruno Pizza a few years ago. (Both chefs have since left Demian Repucci’s love-it-or-hate-it East Village restaurant.)
A former Box Kite staffer tells Sprudge: "The location of the shop was never quite able to sustain the super premium coffee experience that it was set up to provide, and the other aspects of the business – the food and alcohol sales – never pulled their weight." The project started as a pop-up run by Cora Lambert and Erik Becker. The team moved into the former Tuck Shop space on St. Mark’s in late 2013 and started serving coffee from Tim Wendelboe and other acclaimed roasters. Ligaya Mishan filed a rave of the tasting menu in the Times six months after the cafe opened. Box Kite expanded to the Upper West Side in early 2015.
Lambert, who left Box Kite after the uptown expansion, comments on the closure: "While the news wasn’t altogether shocking (and part of the reason I’m no longer part of the project), I’m truly sorry for all the employees that lost their jobs and for all of the customers that went out of their way to give us their business. " Box Kite’s current owner, Matt Prete, did not make any announcement about his plans to close the cafe before this week. But now the doors are locked and a sign in the window — which features a drawing of a dead unicorn — directs guests to the Upper West Side shop.