For nearly 70 years, The Cup & Saucer has been a classic New York City diner and luncheonette, nestled at 89 Canal Street on the border between Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Its vintage Coca-Cola sign has attracted pedestrians craving all-American fare in a neighborhood filled with more diverse options. Unfortunately, The Cup & Saucer is closing and will no longer be there to serve them due to rising rents. As of this morning, the diner was closed, although whether that means it’s already shut down for good remains unclear.
The owners, John Vasilopoulos and Nick Castanos, said the diner is closing because they could no longer afford rent, which nearly doubled to $15,000 a month. On the bright side, they will likely search for a new location this summer.
For decades, the diner has drawn hungry New Yorkers from both Chinatown and the Lower East Side with its all-American food at affordable prices. It has been one of New York City’s last old-school diners, serving your classic pancakes, eggs and bacon, and cheeseburger deluxes, complete with iconic swivel chairs.
While Vasilopoulos and Castanos, both Greek immigrants, have owned the diner since 1988, The Cup & Saucer has actually been there, sitting right off the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge, since the early 1940s, when it was a Jewish-owned diner. During its early days, the diner was surrounded by immigrant-owned businesses and has had three groups of owners since then. What sets The Cup & Saucer apart and makes New Yorkers even sadder to see it leave, is that it has maintained some of its original furnishings and decor, including its bar stools and the cup and saucer on the floor.
The closing of The Cup & Saucer is part of the larger trend of closing diners in New York City due to rising rents, and their subsequent replacement with higher-end eateries. That’s a big reason why The Cup and Saucer will be missed—in a neighborhood increasingly filled with trendy eateries, the diner was a humble place where everyone could come together, feel comfortable, and enjoy hearty meals at decent prices.
Next, read 10 of the Last Stand-Alone Diners in NYC and Vintage Photos: NYC Diners in the 1990s.