Caffe Vivaldi, the West Village Italian restaurant featuring live jazz, will close at the end of the month after serving food and music for more than three decades.
It opened at 32 Jones St. in 1983 and survived a massive rent hike in 2011 after notoriously crooked landlord Steve Croman tripled the rent. The restaurant got locked in another legal battle with Croman in 2016 that put it in danger of closing. Then in April of this year, owner Ishrat Ansari published an update about the restaurant’s ongoing disputes with Croman, who was sentenced to a year in jail for grand larceny, tax fraud, and mortgage fraud in 2017. In the update, Ansari notes the stroke he had two weeks before a crucial court hearing about the restaurant’s future.
The restaurant posted a statement on its website about the reasons for closure, as Gothamist first reported: “In brief: our legal and financial difficulties with our landlord came to a head this spring. To continue to fight would be self-destructive in many, many ways for the business and for all of us.”
There’s also a call for people to share their personal stories about Caffe Vivaldi on the website, where over a dozen patrons and former employees have shared their thoughts about the restaurant’s legacy and its impending closure. The restaurant is known for its live jazz performances and pasta-heavy menu, acting as both a romantic neighborhood spot and a place for musicians across the city to perform.
The last day will be June 23rd.