Sad news coming out of New York City as Box Kite’s East Village location closed unexpectedly Sunday night. Sources close to the café confirm that indeed the locks have been changed and a picture of a dead unicorn has been posted on the door, a reference to one of the shop’s signature beverages, the Unicorn.

One former staffer of the now defunct café (who wishes to remain anonymous) states that the closing came as a shock but not a complete surprise.

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 owner [Matt Prete] was always very up front with everyone that it was losing money and that he would be willing to tolerate it as long as it was fun and as long as we could get it reasonably closer to breaking even.

Past members of the Box Kite team have been weighing on the news. In a post on Facebook, Box Kite founder and former owner Cora Lambert had this to say:

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Yesterday morning I learned that Box Kite [East Village] had suddenly closed its doors. 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. This was my first stab at owning something, and a great lesson on making better choices about who I will get into business with again.

On the purely bright side, I’m just happy it got to exist in all of its bizarre glory. THANK YOU to all of the people that came out for a cup of unicorn coffee, ridiculous (but delicious) 8-course tasting menu or to sip the Champagne of Beers from Zalto flutes as we danced to TLC radio. THANK YOU to all of the staff that shared these visions and hung in there through my business partner’s weird shenanigans. THANK YOU to Steven Latham for carrying the torch and continuing to serve some of NYC’s best coffee (please visit him in [Upper West Side] and give him a hug for me). I am so grateful for all of you.

Another past Box Kite barista, Amanda Whitt, had fond memories of the café and Lambert:

Cora Lambert’s belief in her project was infectious, and it made me push the boundaries in my own projects

Former employee and occasional Sprudge contributor Eric Grimm stated:

I came on at Box Kite because it was quintessential Cora Lambert. It was grand and ambitious with an in-house pastry chef, internationally roasted coffee, a ten-course tasting menu, and Canadian wallpaper all in 300 square feet. It was ludicrous and wonderful and Steven Latham carries on that sense of ambition with his commitment to sourcing excellent coffees from around the world at the Upper West Side location. It’s fitting that the original location has closed after a brief, tumultuous, and eventful two-and-a-half years; it truly is the mythical unicorn cafe.

We reached out to owner Matt Prete for comment, but he was unavailable as of press time. We will update this post as more information becomes available.

The Box Kite on the Upper West Side remains open for business.

This story is developing…

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