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'It’s not going away, it’s about figuring out what’s next': Marigny's Cake Cafe closing

The past few months have taken a toll

NEW ORLEANS — Cake Café in the Marigny will soon close its doors permanently.  

The beloved café at Chartres and Spain will be leaving a restaurant scene that’s being rearranged by COVID-19.  

“It’s time for us to move forward and somebody to have a new beginning here,” Steve Himelfarb said.

Life is changing for the café’s owners, Steve and Becky Himelfarb.  After 13 years of business, most of it in the Marigny, the couple is looking to the future.

The past few months have taken a toll.  

“We’ve shifted five times in the last five months in how we do our business from catering to the frontline, to take out, to partial hours, and that unto itself is exhausting,” Steve Himelfarb said.    

Along with the other 1,200 or so restaurants in New Orleans, the café has tried to navigate a business environment dominated by a pandemic.

Concerns over masks, seating limits take out or delivery services have been considered by most restaurants that are still trying to stay in an industry where profit margins can be very thin.  

“We’ve worked with the same model for 13 years, and I would love to help develop a new model.  There’s a lot of navigation in that model, and honestly right now, I don’t have the bandwidth to work that many hours and develop a new model,” Himelfarb said.    

Himelfarb started Cake Café in Exchange Place Alley in the French Quarter in 2004.  The café eventually moved to the Marigny location.  After Hurricane Katrina, the café was one of the first places to reopen in the neighborhood.

Himelfarb says bouncing back from a pandemic is different, and the restaurant industry is likely forever changed.  

“It’s not going away it’s about figuring out what’s next," he said. "You just have to start out with the past is the past.  We are in a new beginning."

He’s putting the café up for sale.  For a guy who’s been known as the “cake man” this time is bittersweet.  Himelfarb says he’s trying to figure out how to keep his goat cheese and apple king cake available to the public.  Cake Café is scheduled to close on June 28.

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