By Katarina Hybenova

Life Cafe is closing down permanently on June 30, 2012. Yesterday, Kathy Life, the owner of Life Cafe, a cult Bushwick eatery and watering hole announced it on their website.   Kathy and her husband, now in their sixties are being involuntarily sent to the earlier retirement by their landlord who decided not to extend their lease. “…the landlord of my thriving Bushwick café told me that he was not going to extend my lease,” Kathy writes on the website. 

Interestingly, new owners will immediately start operation of a cafe of another name in the same premises. They will add a couple of new items on the menu, but generally they don’t plan on tempering with the genius loci of the place, Life Cafe website informs.

Life Cafe on Flushing Ave was the first of the new wave of restaurants and bars in Bushwick. Kathy Life who ran Life Cafe in East Village since the 1980s, opened the Bushwick branch in 2001 when Bushwick looked like “post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland, with nowhere for existing and incoming artists and loft dwellers to eat or drink.” Kathy Life says that in 2001, the same landlord who is now giving her good bye invited her to open a cafe/bar in his building. “He told me the incoming residents desperately needed a watering hole. He said having a café close to his buildings would attract the kind of tenants he wanted. ” It is true. Life Cafe certainly helped to shape the neighborhood by making it more attractive for the new artist colony.

Kathy Life who seven months ago lost also the lease on her East Village space writes: “It was the East Village story all over again and I saw it. Except profit wasn’t my motive. I saw it as another chance to do what I seem to be naturally compelled to do: create a sense of home and connect the neighborhood folks together, offer a safe haven with comforting food and good drink at reasonable prices.”

We have until the end of the week to enjoy the legendary walnut banana pancakes or chicken wings, and through great food pay a homage to one of the greatest spots in Bushwick…. Life Cafe, you will be missed…


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Thanks for a tip to Eric Nelson.