Life Cafe Blog

Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

LIFE CAFÉ 983 BUSHWICK TO CLOSE JUNE 30, 2012

 June 24, 2012

Nine months ago I had to close the original East Village Life Café. Today I am very sorry and sad to finally announce that I have to throw in my tea towel and close my second venue, Life Café 983 in Bushwick on June 30. A new café/bar will open immediately thereafter under a new name. I shall take a break from the restaurant business for the time being.

 I know it’s hard to believe. After 30 years, in September 2011 I had to close my East Village café because I could no longer carry the huge business losses caused by the two warring landlords who fought over structural repairs to their property.

And a few months later the landlord of my thriving Bushwick café told me that he was not going to extend my lease.

That was the same landlord who in 2001 invited me to open a cafe in the building he just bought on Flushing Avenue. At the time, Bushwick looked like a post-apocalyptic industrial wasteland, with nowhere for existing and incoming artists and loft dwellers to eat or drink. 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 was the East Village story all over again and I saw it. Except profit wasn’t my motive. Rather, it was 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.

I’m very glad to say that in the end it worked. Yes, it was risky and definitely a struggle the first several years. But eventually Life became a second home for locals and newcomers alike and became the heart of the community much as the East Village Life Café had done in the early 80s. I have met many fine folk throughout the years and have watched as their lives unfolded along with the Café’s. And it was good.

I’ve finally come to terms with the events of the last year. My husband John and I have gotten over our disbelief, anger and sadness at losing both places in one year. We see it now as the Universe giving us a less than gentle nudge into semi-retirement. We’re looking forward to some “Adventures Before Dementia.”

About the new operation, I understand the new owners will make every effort to carry on the spirit of Life. They said, why change something that obviously works, that people like and want. They said they’d make some upgrades that are due and there will be new additions to the menu. And they recognize it’s important not to tamper with the special ambience of Life. In that sense, their intention is for Life Café to live on in spirit, if not in name.

All things come to an end in Life. I leave having created something unique, a bohemian legacy. John and I are now in our sixties and ready for a little R and R, to have a little more time doing the other things we’ve wanted to do.

My experiences during the last 30 years of Life are cause for celebration in the closing of both cafes. Running and owning my cafes has been more than a job. It’s been like having an extended family of staff, patrons and friends. We have made legions of them over the years. Life Café has always been about the relationship between the staff and patrons. A café is more than a place to eat and drink. It’s where special relationships are fostered and melded through conversation, laughter and camaraderie. That’s what a good café is. It’s far more than food and drink. It’s about human connection.

I would like to thank the hundreds of staff members for helping me give something great and unique to the city of New York and the hamlet of Bushwick. But the roll call is too long and no name is greater or lesser than another, for each and every one has played their unique part. But, let me tell you, the guys in the kitchen are the heart and bones of the Café. Any staff member will concur. Hector, who has run the Bushwick kitchen since before it opened and who worked for me at the East Village Café as well for years before, has been particularly exceptional. He has been the kitchen’s foundation. He never missed a beat and has been ever reliable and always amiable. On his strong back Life 983 found its feet and prospered. He and his staff have been the inspiration of the Café. There are more memories than can be mentioned here and many relationships built over time. I will miss you all and will never forget you. Life Café has always had a lot of love about it, and that I shall always have with me.

Please stop by in the next week to check out John’s Life Café Menu Picture Riddle art installation. It is the final one. We have a catalogue on premises and he’s offering the limited edition of originals at very special reduced prices. There will not be any more produced. He would like to leave as many pieces he possibly can with our friends in the Life community.

A last thought before I go; I didn’t make time for a family of my own. Instead, I made time for you. Thank you all for being a part of my family and thank you for allowing me to be a part of yours.

Much peace and love,

Kathy Life


Life Cafe Dinner Specials!!!

6.22-6.28

 APPETIZER

HUMMUS

6.99

Served with carrots, celery and whole wheat pita chips

 

ENTRÉES

HANGER STEAK

16.99  

With a balsamic sauce and served with mashed potatoes

and mixed vegetables

BREADED PORK CHOPS

15.99  

With a French onion sauce and served with mashed potatoes

 BEER BATTERED FISH AND CHIPS

13.99  

Served with cole slaw, French fries and malt vinegar

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

 BREAD PUDDING OR

BISCUIT TOPPED COBBLER

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 


Dinner Specials for Life Cafe 983


6.15-6.21

 APPETIZER

FRIED CALAMARI

7.99

Tossed in a sundried tomato vinaigrette over a mesclun salad

 

ENTRÉES

HANGAR STEAK

16.99  

With a red-eye sauce and served with mashed potatoes

and French green beans 

GRILLED SALMON FILET

15.99  

With a pineapple sauce and served with broccoli and couscous 

BRAISED SHORT RIBS

14.99  

Served with garlic mashed potatoes

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

BREAD PUDDING OR

BISCUIT TOPPED COBBLER

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 



Dinner Specials for Life Cafe 983

6.8.6.14

 APPETIZER

SHRIMP SPRING ROLLS

7.99

Stuffed with cabbage, carrots, cilantro, garlic and ginger and served with a spicy soy vinaigrette

 ENTRÉES

SIRLOIN STEAK

16.99  

Topped with a mushroom Marsala cream sauce and served

with mashed potatoes and French green beans

 SALMON FILET

15.99  

On a mustard cream dill sauce and served with mashed potatoes and broccoli

 PENNE PASTA

13.99  

With Italian hot sausage, mushrooms, zucchini, sundried tomatoes and spinach tossed in a white wine sauce and topped with goat cheese

 DESSERT SPECIAL

 BREAD PUDDING OR

BISCUIT TOPPED COBBLER

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm


Life Cafe Dinner Specials!!


6.1-6.7

 APPETIZER

FRIED PICKLES

7.99

Served with a buttermilk-horseradish sauce

 

ENTRÉES

 SIRLOIN STEAK

16.99  

With a mushroom bleu cheese sauce, topped with fried onions and served with mashed potatoes and French green beans

PLANTAIN CRUSTED SALMON FILET

15.99  

On a guava sauce and served with couscous and broccoli

  

DESSERT SPECIAL

 BREAD PUDDING OR

BISCUIT TOPPED COBBLER

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 



Memorial Weekend Dinner Specials

5.25-5.31              

 APPETIZER

FLASH FRIED CALAMARI

7.99

Tossed in a papaya-chipotle mayo and served on a mesclun salad

 

ENTRÉES

GRILLED SHELL STEAK

16.99  

Topped with a burgundy wine sauce and served with mashed potatoes and French green beans

 GRILLED PORK LOIN

15.99  

Topped with a Marsala cream sauce and served with mixed vegetables and roasted potatoes

 EGG BATTERED PAN FRIED TILAPIA

13.99  

Served with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

 CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 



Dinner Specials for Life Cafe 983

5.18-2.24

 APPETIZER

SMOKED SALMON TOSTADITOS

7.99

Fried corn tortillas with re-fried beans, mango salsa, lettuce and queso served with jalapeño sour cream

 

ENTREÉS

 GRILLED SHELL STEAK

16.99  

Served with creamed spinach and mashed potatoes

 GRILLED SALMON FILET

14.99  

With grilled endives and served with an arugula salad in a mint vinaigrette and mashed potatoes

 COCONUT CURRY STIR FRY

13.99  

An old school favorite, served with fried tofu over organic brown rice

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

 CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 



Life Cafe Dinner Specials!!!

5.11-5.17

 APPETIZER

STEAMED MUSSELS

7.99

With Italian hot sausage, fennel, tomatoes, in a garlic-white wine sauce and served with garlic bread

 

ENTREÉS

SIRLOIN STEAK

16.99  

With a mushroom cream sauce and served with mashed potatoes and broccoli

 BACON WRAPPED SALMON FILET

14.99  

Served over sautéed bok Choy,  topped with a red wine sauce

with potato croquette

 PENNE PASTA PRIMAVERA

13.99  

In a chipotle cream sauce and topped with a breaded chicken cutlet

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

 CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm

 



Dinner Specials for Life Cafe

5.4-5.10

 APPETIZER

HOUSE MADE JALAPEÑO POPPERS

7.99

Served with chipotle mayo

 

ENTREÉS

CHICKEN FRIED HANGER STEAK

16.99  

Served with garlic mashed potatoes and French beans

 BROILED COD FISH

14.99  

With a miso sauce and served with julienne vegetables and white rice

 WHOLE ROASTED CORNISH HEN

14.99  

With an orange-mustard glaze and served with asparagus and mashed potatoes

DESSERT SPECIAL

CHOCOLATE CHIP-BANANA-WALNUT CRÊPE

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm


Life Cafe 983 Dinner Specials

4.27-5.3

 APPETIZER

 HOUSEMADE JALAPEÑO POPPERS

7.99

Served with chipotle mayo

 

ENTREÉS

 GRILLED FLANK STEAK CAPRESE

16.99  

Topped with roasted red peppers, basil, spinach and fresh mozzarella and a brown sauce and served with mashed potatoes

 GRILLED SALMON TERIYAKI

14.99  

Served with julienne vegetables and white rice

 BREADED PORK CHOP

14.99  

Served with roasted potatoes in a sherry wine sauce and mixed vegetables

 

DESSERT SPECIAL

 CHOCOLATE CHIP-BANANA-WALNUT CRÊPE

4.99

Dinner entrees & specials are served 7 Days from 5pm