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Shuttered Cupcake Cafe Raising Money to Reopen in Hell's Kitchen

By Maya Rajamani | December 6, 2016 3:21pm
 The former Cupcake Cafe at 545 Ninth Ave.
The former Cupcake Cafe at 545 Ninth Ave.
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Facebook/Cupcake Cafe

HELL'S KITCHEN — A decades-old bakery that closed suddenly in the spring is raising money to reopen elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The Cupcake Cafe had operated out of a space at West 39th Street and Ninth Avenue between 1988 and 2006 before moving to 545 Ninth Ave., near West 40th Street. The shop shuttered at the end of March after its owners filed for personal bankruptcy over ongoing legal issues related to a West 18th Street outpost that closed in 2011, co-owner Ann Warren, 61, said.

Now, Warren and her daughter have launched a Kickstarter campaign to open a new commercial kitchen space at a location further west in the neighborhood, she said.

“The [Kickstarter] is really simply to secure this very small space, over on 50th [Street] and 11th [Avenue], and be able to bake there, to make the modifications that the space would need in order to be able to bake there,” Warren explained.

Since the Ninth Avenue shop closed, customers have still been able to order Warren’s signature buttercream cakes in advance, but she’d like to have a permanent space for baking and storage, she said.

The fundraiser will cover bakery renovations and the money Warren needs to sign a lease for the space she’s eyeing, she said.

As of Tuesday, the campaign had raised $5,107 of its $16,000 goal, with 20 days remaining.

Warren, a printmaker and painter herself, also envisions launching a small gallery in the new space to showcase local art.

“I’m really looking forward to the art space,” she said.

She’s still not sure whether finances will allow the store to sell cakes and cupcakes to go, or if the space will focus primarily on made-to-order baked goods.

It will likely still serve coffee, as the old cafe did, she noted.

“We weren’t trying to exactly recreate the cafe, because we can’t,” Warren said. “[But] I would love to — I never would have closed it.”