FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The Milk Street Cafe will close its doors for good on Thursday, after struggling for months with a loss of business due to police barricades that appeared on Wall Street during the protests this fall.
The international kosher food hall at 40 Wall St. saw its sales plummet by 30 percent after the Occupy Wall Street protests started in September, largely because of the metal barricades the NYPD used to cordon off large sections of the street and sidewalk, the owner said.
Even after the protesters were evicted from Zuccotti Park, many of the barricades on Wall Street remained in place, and owner Marc Epstein said two weeks ago that he was on the verge of closing the 23,000-square-foot restaurant.
A Milk Street Cafe spokeswoman confirmed the planned closure at the end of business Thursday, first reported by the Daily News, but did not immediately comment further.
Epstein did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In an interview two weeks ago, Epstein said he was frustrated that city officials had not been more responsive to Milk Street's plight, especially when he begged them to remove the rest of the barricades from Wall Street.
"If I have come away with anything, it is that this is not a place that is conducive to small business," Epstein said two weeks ago.
At the height of the protests in late October, Epstein laid off 21 workers and cut back the cafe's hours in an attempt to stem the loss of money.
But earlier this month the restaurant was still losing $2,000 to $4,000 a day, and Epstein said it would take a "Hail Mary" to keep his doors open.
Between loans and investments, Epstein and his partners put about $4 million into launching the Milk Street Cafe. At the opening ceremony in June, former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith praised Epstein and his wife Beth for bringing much-needed jobs to Lower Manhattan.
This Milk Street Cafe was an offshoot of the original Milk Street Cafe restaurant and catering hall in Boston, which the Epsteins opened 30 years ago.