LOWER EAST SIDE — A Ludlow Street music venue is celebrating 10 years in business with a series of concerts and events this month.
Cake Shop, located at 152 Ludlow St., is in the middle of a monthlong “house show”-themed celebration of its hard-earned decennial, according to owners and brothers Nick and Andy Bodor.
“We’re just really appreciative to the people who have walked in the door in the last 10 years. Every time somebody compliments us it’s such a rewarding thing,” Nick Bodor said. “It means a lot to us.”
The small music venue, which opened in 2005 and holds 150 people, has become known for its willingness to book up-and-coming independent acts from around the country. In the past decade, Cake Shop has hosted thousands of bands, including Vampire Weekend, Peter Bjorn and John, and Titus Andronicus, according to its website.
The venue still hosts live music each night, the brothers said, and has recently started to book comedy shows.
Getting to the 10-year mark hasn’t been easy.
It took a year to build out the space before it could open, and the brothers said there have been times when they declined to cash their own paychecks so that their employees would get paid.
Cake Shop was nearly forced to close in 2012 when the owners faced eviction over financial difficulties stemming from back taxes, fines for noise violations and incidents in which underage patrons were served alcohol, according to reports.
To stay in business, the brothers set up an online fundraiser, which raised about $25,000, according to the New York Times.
Earlier this year, the venue put out a call on Facebook for a “like-minded investor” to take over part of the business with the goal of making Cake Shop financially stable and helping it expand.
One investor stepped in and helped Cake Shop to pay back its debts and negotiate a new lease with their landlord, which they hope to sign next month, Nick Bodor said. He declined to name the investor or say how much of the business the new partner owns.
The building's landlord did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The owners said they are also open to taking on more investors and are willing to sell up to a 49 percent stake of Cake Shop in order to grow the business. Future goals also include branded T-shirts, additional Cake Shop locations and a way to broadcast events and make them interactive.
At the moment, however, the brothers are focused on running the venue and celebrating its anniversary with a series of concerts each night and secret shows by acts that have passed through their doors in the last decade.
Drink specials — like $3 moonshine, $2 tall boys and keg beer served in plastic cups — will also change every day this month.
The duo has also rearranged the back seating area and added low benches to give it a more communal feeling, the Bodor brothers said. They also posted old show fliers on the walls.
“It’s almost like a museum here. You can look up and down the walls and be like ‘Oh my god, Jeff the Brother played here? Vampire Weekend played here on the fifth 10 years ago?’” Nick Bodor said.