The cheese and wine café will close its doors this Saturday, December 23 after 11 months of business.
By: Neil Strebig
On Saturday, December 16 Casellula in Alphabet City announced they will officially be closing their doors. The statement was released on their website and later shared through the restaurant’s Facebook and other social media pages. Caseulla opened on January 14 of this year and will be holding their final service on Saturday, December 23.
“Mostly because of price point Casellula wasn’t the right fit for space,” Casellula owner Brian Keyser said. “I’m very upset I won’t be involved making anything work there.”
During a phone interview, Keyser explained there were a number of factors in play that led to the restaurant’s closing. In addition to high price points (Casellula originally opened with a no-tip policy), he mentioned the restaurant had difficulty drawing consistent customer traffic.
“There are multiple challenges a restaurant in that space is going to face,” said Keyser. “Only way to make it work is to attract people outside of the immediate Northside and that proved hard to do.”
Caseulla shared the Central Northside space with City of Asylum Bookstore. City of Asylum co-founder, Henry Reese was optimistic about the future of the site despite the unfavorable news.
“We’re committed to putting a restaurant in the place,” said Reese during a separate phone interview. Reese who declined to comment on specifics of the closing reiterated that having a “food and beverage” presence in Alphabet City has always been an “important part of the program” and acknowledged that everyone involved “wanted this to succeed and we’re all disappointed.”
“I think Alphabet City was a great project and City of Asylum was a great organization, [I’m] just upset things didn’t work out,” said Keyser, who also acknowledged Alphabet City is a space that offers a “lot of opportunity” to any new, incoming restaurateur.
According to Reese, City of Asylum staff will not be operating any portions of the bar, nor will they be holding any pop-ups. The restaurant space of Alphabet City remain vacant until City of Asylum can find a replacement partner. But all City of Asylum events at Alphabet City will go on as scheduled and City of Asylum Bookstore will resume normal business hours following the holiday season.