Life Cafe, Mama’s Food Shop Close Their Brooklyn Locations

UntitledPhilip Kalantzis-Cope The East Village location of Life Cafe.

Less than six months after its original location officially closed for good, the Bushwick location of Life Cafe will shut down as well.

Owner Kathy Kirkpatrick explained in a brief phone conversation that her landlord refused to extend her lease on the space at 983 Flushing Avenue.

“My husband and I have gotten over our disbelief, anger and sadness at losing both places in one year,” Ms. Kirkpatrick wrote in a press release. “We see it now as the universe giving us a less than gentle nudge into retirement. We’re now eagerly looking forward to our ‘Adventures Before Dementia.’ It’s time for a little relaxation.”

When it first opened in 1981 at Avenue B and East 10th Street, the original location of Life Cafe stood as a pioneer in the neighborhood, which was not yet a destination for expensive cocktails and hour-long waits for brunch. Hopes for resurrecting the restaurant were dashed in March after a prolonged dispute between Ms. Kirkpatrick’s two landlords. At the time of the closing, Ms. Kirkpatrick said she looked forward to focusing on her Flushing Avenue location, saying that Bushwick reminded her of the East Village of yore.

Ultimately, both locations met similar ends.

The operators taking over the space in Brooklyn hope to maintain the cafe’s easygoing ambiance, Ms. Kirkpatrick wrote. However, the incoming business will have a new name, bringing an end to the Life Cafe brand. Jonathan Larson wrote much of “Rent” in the East Village location of the cafe, making it a popular destination for fanatics (dubbed Rentheads) of the musical.

Though there will no longer be a cafe to visit, “Rent” lovers can still check out the online Renthead Registers, where they can read digitized versions of around 10,000 signatures from people who signed guestbooks pledging their love for Mr. Larson’s opus.

Life Cafe isn’t the only East Village offshoot to close in the Williamsburg-Bushwick area. In late April, Jeremiah Clancy, the owner of Mama’s Food Shop, sent out an e-mail to friends and family announcing that the restaurant’s Williamsburg location, which had opened in November, was closing “after having an investor fall through and much personal deliberation.” The e-mail went on to say, “The other option we are considering is to sell Mama’s Food Shop as a brand. It is quite recognizable both within NYC (after being around since 1995) and now nationally after the exposure of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.”

Update | 5:16 p.m. A timely phone call from the owner of Ella, Gallery Bar and the new restaurant coming to the Nice Guy Eddie’s space, Darin Rubell, reveals that he is the new operator moving into the Brooklyn location of Life Cafe. Mr. Rubell also vied unsuccessfully for the East Village location of the cafe. “What amazes me about Kathy is her ability to get neighborhoods before they pop,” he said, later adding, “I think Bushwick is amazing, and her business is incredible. She does really well out there.”