Thursday, October 27, 2016

Silver Lake’s Casbah Cafe closes without saying goodbye

Entrance to Casbah in Silver Lake

Storefront ReportSILVER LAKE ––  For nearly 20 years, the Casbah Cafe attracted a loyal clientele that sipped coffee and snacked on pastries in the Moroccan themed interior or took a seat at sidewalk tables sheltered by vines and greenery. But this week, Casbah’s customers have been left to wonder what happened after the cafe failed to open and a large leasing sign was hung over the arched and now gated entrance.

A worker who was cleaning out the interior of the cafe today indicated that Casbah, which opened in 1997 at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue, was not going to reopen.  Some customers said the Sunset Junction cafe was open on Sunday but was closed without warning on Monday.  Emails and calls to the cafe went unanswered.

The approximately 1,800 square-foot space is now available for lease at an undisclosed rate, according to a listing on LoopNet.

David Goodman, a Casbah regular since moving into Silver Lake in 2001, the cafe had a welcoming vibe.

“For more than a year my daughter and I have been going every Tuesday night for mint tea and chocolate cake so she can do her homework while my son has his music lessons at the nearby Silverlake Conservatory,” Goodman said in an email.  “It was one of the last holdovers from a version of Silverlake that is disappearing all too fast — only to be replaced by pressed juice bars and $5 lattes. The neighborhood just won’t be the same without it.”

Cashbah is being cleaned out

Cashbah is being cleaned out

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  1. What a shame. Casbah had real character and personality. Out with the unique, in with the homogenous.

  2. This is really sad, almost like when PsychoBabble went out on Vermont Ave. They’re right, a victim of the gentrification monster they helped create.

  3. This is such a bummer. I have fond memories of breaking the fast on Yom Kippur a few years in a row going back to 2007 here. I remember being bummed enough when Intelligentsia moved in, but this just plain sucks 🙁 miss those apricots.

  4. Bummer… any idea if they plan to reopen elsewhere?

  5. I’ll add myself to the list of people extremely saddened by this news. This was one of my favorite places in Silver Lake. Loved the unpretentious, slightly funky true neighborhood vibe. Sure there was better coffee to be found other places, but they made a good cup, the baked goods were truly homemade, the staff was very kind, and they had a great little boutique upstairs. But mostly what I loved was the complete lack of a scene. I’m feeling very “nail in coffin” right now. Such a shame.

  6. You can be sure there is an avaricious landlord who wants 300% of the current rent behind this inordinately distressing development… 😐

    • When a place closes suddenly like this, to me that says family emergency, something like that. Clearly rents are going up but I don’t think that’s what happened here.

      The cafe owner is still on the hook for the rent, why would s/he close up shop before the lease is up?

      • We can agree to disagree. A 20 year old popular business does not close suddenly unless their rent is jacked up to the sky. This business would have been salable had the rent remained workable for the business model.

  7. NOOOO!!! Hate to see it go.
    but…There was a for sale sign on the building at the beginning of the year and a listing on loopnet that said:

    “Cafe / restaurant for sale in the heart of Silver :lake on sunset & Hyperion the “coolest neighborhood in the U.S” Existing and well known in the neighborhood, full of celebrities and a built in clientele, very well known in both the East and West coast and even Japan and Europe, illustrious customers for a many years, owner wants to retire.”

    • you are right- I saw the sign 6 mos ago. This place had a nice lived- in vibe and was an ornery fixture of the neighborhood. I rarely went in the last few years because the prices were so crazy, though.

  8. Good riddance to a place with rude staff and insanely over priced food.

    Hope something good goes in (and not another coffee shop or expensive boutique.)

    • I agree, Margot.

      It’s no surprise they just closed up without any forewarning to particularly their regulars. The owner was one of the most unfriendly business owners……..and hated customers that used their laptops in the cafe. I had gone there religiously for about a year, every early morning. Do you think as a regular customer, both the owner and staff would know my name? Nooooooooooooo.

      • Also agree with Margot, despite the beautiful decor, this place had awful customer service every time I came here. Super slow and disinterested. Takes like 20 minutes to get a bagel with cream cheese. Haven’t even bothered coming here for like 2 or 3 years. Later gator.

    • Not meant to be offensive or spiteful, but legitimately curious as to what type of businesses you would like to see going in that are not coffee or boutiques?

      • Affordable lunch place would be great! Sandwich shop perhaps? Boutiques are fine, I was mostly thinking of super high end places like Mohawk General and APC that are way out of most peoples’ price ranges. Spots like Reform School and LA County Shop are great, especially because they feature local craftspeople.

  9. Early on when Cashah Cafe was somewhat new, I walked there EVERY morning for years for my coffee. One morning I was, if my memory serves me correctly, a mere two cents short on the price of the coffee. The woman behind the counter snatched the coffee from me and dumped it even after I promised to come back with the two cents. Did you catch that I said I went there EVERY morning for YEARS? Well I certainly never returned after I was turned away for being a mere two cents short, and that was at least 10 years ago.

  10. Funny, I never ever had rude service there over the years… nothing but good memories!

    But then again, closing up shop without telling regular customers, or replying to call and emails speaks volumes. I hope the employees were at least given more notice.

  11. Beverly D'Angeleno

    Wonder what they did with all those empenadas.

  12. : (
    The owner that ran the cafe was trying to sell the business (not the property) for over $800,000.
    There was no way that made sense for anyone.

    I agree with corner soul, I can’t remember having receiving anything other than really kind service over the years.

    Glad many people had the opportunity to have enjoyed it all these years.

  13. If anyone hears of the decor / tables / teapots etcetera from Casbah being sold off, please let me know. I would love a memento of this place. I am so sad to hear it is closing.

  14. It’s a lovely space. Hopefully soon to be filled by a business without a crazy owner, nasty staff, and mediocre food. Bye, Casbah!

    • Im sooooooo sad to see Casbah go what a staple of the neighborhood, I would go all the time, most beautiful and interesting place in Los Angeles this sucks now we are all stuck with intelligencia another little startbucks but even worst because they think they try to be cool without know what cool is. Casbah was the real cool for my friends and I. FUCK this country if people’s rights are a game. I loved Casbah one of the reasons I moved to Silver Lake. Another haven lost.

      • I am too sad to see Casbah to go, even I had coffee there only about ten times over all those years and bought just a couple things from their boutique, but I had a good feeling about the place, even passing by… Never thought that I would read about them being rude to their customers. Not to serve coffee just because the person is a few cents short?! Not to care to tell the regular customers that they are closing?!

  15. It says a lot when a business can’t even be bothered to post a sign saying thank you and goodbye to the loyal customers. The lack of this courtesy seems a little bit like a middle finger to the community.

  16. I’m so sad!!! I loved the Casbah and never had rude service, although I never had dealings with the owner. I loved the ambiance and the unusual food. It was aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. There is nowhere else like it, and the only other coffee house in Sunset Junction is Intelligentsia which is uncomfortable, snotty, aesthetically boring, just plain sucks and doesn’t have food. The Sunset Junction Coffee Shop or Cafe or whatever it’s called a few doors down has blah food and high prices. This is just terrible news.

  17. Silver Lake Native

    Some evidence suggests that in 2015, Chris Langer and his lawyer(s) finally arrived in Silver Lake. Langer and his lawyer(s) have hundreds of lawsuit cases stemming from San Diego to Orange County, Palm Springs, and now Los Angeles. What they do is sue businesses, using the Americans w Disability Act. They target small businesses. Some call it a shakedown. Google Chris Langer and his lawyer Mark Potter and add keywords like lawsuit, shakedown, etc.

  18. That place was dirty. I hear Chipotle want to open up there.

  19. The employees were a-holes and the coffee sucked, but I loved the decor and was a good spot to meet for coffee. Bummed to see it go.

  20. I also heard that Chipotle is looking in the neighborhood. This actually seems a likely possibility as it is a visible corner location and looks to be about the right size for them.

  21. Seems too tight a space for a chain restaurant to bother with… no parking either (which is probably a deal breaker for your typical Chipotle customer.)

  22. “Casbah Café Says They Were Forced Out Of ‘Corporate’ Silver Lake”


  23. This places closed because it did not adapt to the changing times and neighborhood. Everytime I went in there it felt like they never changed the place. Even the food – I don’t know – felt a little dirty when it arrived. Another reason is there is better coffee, better food and better atmosphere steps away from Casbah. Oh, also the rude staff and the allegation of owing those rude employees a lot of money. Bring on some place new!

  24. That block of Silverlake used to be my favorite place to go when I first moved to the area, although Casbah was never a good experience. But as the neighborhood has changed over time, none of the changes on Sunset have been positive. I don’t enjoy my own neighborhood any more and that’s sad.
    However, the statement from Casbah Cafe reeks of bitterness and a refusal to take any responsibility for its failure. Don’t shake your fist at the media and residents when it’s too late for anyone to help.

  25. Hipsters all over will feign concern and disappointment until the next hip coffee spot leases the space

  26. Surely, the expiration date of their lease was not a secret to them…..

  27. They left without paying their employees and probably their suppliers! Very disrespectful!

  28. Businesses being driven out can relocate to Glassell Park, Eagle Rock and HP where there is an abundance of real estate and customers.
    Any new business to Silverlake willing to accept the landlords inflated rent requests can crash & burn. How are APC and that ugly optical store doing?

  29. Sigh. And there goes the last holdout of the original Sunset Junction. RIP Silver Lake. It was fun while it lasted.

  30. honestly I am surprised they lasted this long. I grew up in this hood. I remember neighbors complaining in the late 90’s how the neighborhood had changed for the worse….and it had.

    Kudos they were able to weather the transformation this long.

  31. I worked here for day about 4 years ago, but after completing my training shift (opening morning arrival time) and actually working there for the day they called me and told me that they thought I “didn’t know how to make coffee” and didn’t have time to train me. They never paid me for the day I worked claiming it was just “training” although I made drinks, served customers, handled cash. I do not believe they followed proper labor laws, although I loved the store upstairs and later shopped there often, I never received payment or an apology.

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