The Full Cup Music Venue Raises Money in Effort to Stay Open

By Nicholas Rizzi on March 3, 2014 2:47pm 

 General manager Robert Gilberto and Bobby Parker, owner of The Full Cup music venue in Stapleton, plan to start a campaign to raise money to keep the venue open while they work on changing the front from a coffee shop to a pizzeria.
General manager Robert Gilberto and Bobby Parker, owner of The Full Cup music venue in Stapleton, plan to start a campaign to raise money to keep the venue open while they work on changing the front from a coffee shop to a pizzeria.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

STAPLETON — A Staten Island music venue is asking its fans to help secure its survival.

Owners of The Full Cup on 388 Van Duzer St. plan to launch an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to pay off back taxes, rent and other fees. They're also converting the front section of the venue from a coffee shop into a pizzeria.

Instead of simply asking for the $10,000 Gilberto said it needs, the campaign will offer backers the ability to fund projects designed to keep the spot alive — including a compilation of Staten Island bands that it's producing.

"We're not trying to get handouts, we're not looking for donations. This isn't a charity," manager Rich Gilberto said about The Full Cup's money problems. "We're offering things that people would want."

"I want this place to become the hub of music that it should be," Gilberto added, "Where people come in here to find stuff instead of where people beg their friends to come to their shows."

Owners of the venue blamed years of mismanagement and low profits for putting the venue in jeopardy, but they're confident that a new team of partners, management changes and the addition of a pizza restaurant could save the spot.

The venue, which hosts local and touring bands in the back as well as open mics, musicals and comedy shows, has been struggling and almost closed its doors last month, said Bobby Parker, who has been a co-owner of the spot since it opened in 2010.

"I didn't want it to go out like that," Parker said, adding that he brought in new partners to resuscitate the venue. "If we're going to go out, we're going out trying."

Parker got in touch with Chef Mario Ferraro, owner of Marie's Gourmet, who pitched to turn the front into a pizza place.

"The front bar and the pizza is going to explode this place," Parker said.

Originally, Parker said the owners had plans to turn Stapleton into a hip spot.

"We wanted a scene," Parker said. "This was supposed to be Portland. I wanted just rock-and-roll in the streets."

The Van Duzer Street venue has changed hands many times in its history. It first opened in 2001 as The Muddy Cup, one of a few outlets in a small-chain of coffee shops around New York, according to the Staten Island Advance. It later became just The Cup until it closed in 2010.

Parker and two friends, including Sal Vulcano from the TV show Impractical Jokers, bought it and rebranded it as the Full Cup.

With less and less spaces for local bands to perform, Parker said the spot is too important for the community to shut down again.

"This is still one of a kind," Parker said. "You cannot find a place like this on Staten Island."

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