Cafe Loup, a West Village bistro that’s a longstanding icon in the literary world, has been seized by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. As of now, it’s unclear if the closure is permanent.
According to the New York state tax system’s public records, Cafe Loup has four warrants out for unpaid taxes dating back to September of last year and totaling $241,656.67. Eater NY has reached out to the Department of Taxation and Finance, as well as Cafe Loup for more information.
The French bistro opened on 13th Street near University Place in 1977 and eventually moved just down the street to 105 West 13th St., near Sixth Avenue, in the early ’80s. It has remained a fixture in the neighborhood, particularly in the city’s literary and publishing scene. In its early years, Cafe Loup counted Paul Simon, Susan Sontag, and Paul Auster among its regulars. And it really was a place for regulars, maintaining its status as an old-fashioned writer’s hangout throughout the decades. The space is filled with charming old photographs of classic Parisian bistros and jazz stars.
The kitchen has been run by chef-owner Lloyd Feit for three decades, known for his sizable steak frites and snails smothered in garlic and gruyere, but it was considered more of a place to drink wine and strong martinis over post-work gossip versus a dining destination. The desserts were large and the pours generous, harking back to a pre-Balthazar old-school class of French restaurants.
Loyal patrons and Book Twitter have been mourning on social media in the wake of the news.
I can't imagine New York City without Cafe Loup.— Sam Sifton (@SamSifton) September 19, 2018
Cafe Loup was my lodestar. The menu was incomprehensible, the martinis legion, the breadbaskets plentiful and the wine pours... generous really undersells it. I can't really even process this news.— Reyhan Harmanci (@harmancipants) September 19, 2018
cafe loup is dead and so is my seratonin— rachel syme (@rachsyme) September 19, 2018
In 1995 I sat for four hours, smoking, with Uma Thurman, at the table under the “seized” sign, for a Harper’s Bazaar profile. RIP Cafe Loup. https://t.co/3U0XHXa258— Dwight Garner (@DwightGarner) September 19, 2018
Maybe the real Cafe Loup was the friends we didn't make along the way— Alexandra Svokos (@asvokos) September 19, 2018
I went to go see Cafe Loup myself and the man standing outside commented “the world has ended” pic.twitter.com/22zUc3700w— Caroline Eisenmann (@CarolineMEisen) September 19, 2018
Cafe Loup...now I only know three bars in Manhattan— Lauren Oyler (@laurenoyler) September 19, 2018
The food at Cafe Loup was awful and overpriced and I always loved every minute of being there and NYC is dead to me— EK (@EllenKilloran) September 19, 2018
I’ve said so many outrageous things at Cafe Loup with maybe every poet I’ve known in New York. People will say the food was bad but I never had it so. If they want to say New York is over I won’t be having that either.— Alex Dimitrov (@alexdimitrov) September 19, 2018
the only way to toast cafe loup would be to make an extra large martini with a second helping in the shaker with lynn yaeger and patricia clarkson— E. Alex Jung (@e_alexjung) September 19, 2018