Cup & Saucer, a throwback luncheonette that has occupied the same quiet spot on Canal Street for more than 75 years, is likely closing, Bedford + Bowery has learned. The small but much-loved diner — whose iconic Coca-Cola sign and faded retro aesthetic hearken to an older era — is a staple of the Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood.
The restaurant has been forced to shutter because of rent increases, confirmed someone at the diner who identified themselves as an assistant to the owners. The diner will likely close by the end of next week, he said.
The restaurant has existed in the same location since around 1940, when it was first established as a Jewish luncheonette, and has retained a loyal following despite the ebb and flow of demographic change and gentrification. Cup & Saucer last changed ownership in 1988 — when it was acquired by Nick Castanos, a Cuban immigrant, and John Vasilopoulos, a Greek immigrant — but the name, aesthetic, and attitude have remained more or less consistent since its founding.
There were originally three other Cup & Saucer locations in Manhattan, according to a 2016 article in The Lo-Down, but they closed in the ’90s due to rent hikes. Castanos and Vasilopoulos own another diner in Ridgewood, Queens, according to the same article. They could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Cup & Saucer’s 89 Canal St. address changed hands in 2011. According to Department of Buildings construction filings, it is currently held by 99 Canal Realty Inc. According to the same filings, the owner — who could not be reached for comment in time for publication — plans renovations for the building. The next hipster coffee spot? Hopefully not — but the omens don’t look good.