"It's very sad to me and for the community," Albert Bitton said, as his 10-person staff whipped up salads and coffee drinks, and arranged to sell everything in the two-level shop from the tables to the panini press.
Bitton looked for alternate spaces in the area but found rental costs to be too high.
"SoHo was impossible because of the rents," said Bitton, a 48-year-old TriBeCa resident, declining to provide his price range.
Attorneys for the owner of the space, the Italian art and design company Sicis, did not respond to inquiries about the lease agreement with Cafe Cafe or plans for a future tenant.
Cafe Cafe had prided itself on its customer service, said manager Shilo Tarshish, who first spoke with Grub Street.
"The people behind the counter know the customers and their names," he said. "This place is like a community, neighborhood, local cafe."
It was not immediately known what would come next to the space, which is located at 470 Broome St. but uses a Greene Street entrance.
Regular customer Tim Merjos, who works at an advertising agency in SoHo, said he was sorry to see the small business close.
"Mom-and-pop shops can't really operate here anymore," said Merjos, 51.
Customer Terrence Morrison, a 30-year-old employee of a high-end store nearby, said that with the closure of Cafe Cafe, SoHo will have even fewer affordable lunch options.
"Everyone likes fine dining, but when you have just half an hour, you don't want to spend $20," he said.