‘Marm Cafe’ on Clinton Street is Kaput, Transitions to ‘Bricia’

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 at 5:14 am by

The end of the road is here for Marm Cafe. The three-year-old corner establishment at 79 Clinton Street hasn’t been open since at least mid-August, its fate finally sealed this week with those brown paper shades.

We communicated with ownership via email several weeks ago and were told that the cafe was actually on holiday. The owners instructed us to visit its sister establishment Bottega Falai (Lafayette Street), and that Marm itself would return in the coming days. That was at the end of August.

Instead, a sign at the front door now alerts patrons of the new entity opening here. Something called Bricia Lower East Side.

Regardless of the outcome here, though, the introduction of Blue Bottle coffee (now owned by Nestle) complicates factors.

Marm Cafe opened at 79 Clinton Street in winter 2014.

Meanwhile, the time seems appropriate to discuss the namesake. Marm was actually an homage to one Fredericka “Marm” Mandelbaum, “Queen of Thieves,” who owned a haberdashery on this spot starting in 1865. The crook is often considered the most successful fence in New York City history. From Sarah Breger’s Queen of Thieves: “a huge woman weighing more than two hundred and fifty pounds with ‘extraordinarily fat cheeks,’  Mandelbaum was the head of one of the first organized crime rings and a driving force behind New York City’s underworld for more than twenty-five years.” Mandelbaum handled nearly $10 million in stolen property antebellum through the 1890s using her needles, ribbons, buttons, and the aforementioned thread store as a front. Her apartment above was reportedly furnished completely with stolen goods for uptown mansions.

Library of Congress

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