Lower East Side’s acclaimed former Malaysian cafe Kopitiam is set to make a comeback this spring after closing in December due to a rent increase.
Located at 151 East Broadway between Rutgers and Pike streets, the Kopitiam reboot will be four times the size of the original location, chef-owner Kyo Pang tells Eater. With approximately 35 seats, the new restaurant will have a bigger space as well as a bigger menu.
Kopitiam launched at 51b Canal St. in October 2015 with Pang at the helm of the Malaysian snack menu, featuring small bites like toast with coconut jam and coconut milk rice dyed blue with morning glories. In addition to savory small plates, Kopitiam was known for its Malaysian desserts, like the sweet rice balls muah chee. The small restaurant received glowing praise in Ligaya Mishan’s Hungry City column, which commended the sweet side of the menu in particular.
With its relaunch, Kopitiam is going all-day, open from 7 a.m. to late evening (midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday) with a breakfast menu that’s available all day and a regular menu that will start at noon. The restaurant will also serve beer.
Details of the menu are still being finalized, but Pang says that the old menu offered at the original Kopitiam will be offered along with even more options, with a focus on her family’s recipes. The restaurant to have the look and feel of a traditional Malaysian restaurant, Pang says, noting that she had bowls shipped in from Malaysia.
Kopitiam closed at the end of 2017, with Pang explaining in the subsequent Indiegogo campaign that the landlord increased rent by 25%. She used to the campaign to try and fund a bigger Kopitiam, seeking $250,000, but she ended up raising less than 1 percent. The restaurant instead brought in a new business partner made the new Kopitiam possible.
While it was initially announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that the new Kopitiam would launch on April 15, Pang says that renovations are ongoing and that she’s targeting a May opening.