After 35 years, The Bronx Cafe closed its doors for the last time Sunday, following a busy weekend that saw finding a table harder than Final Four seats. Around 7 p.m. Sunday, everything was cycling down and the remaining staffers — including co-owner Jess Gilbert and his nonagenarian mother, seated center, posed for a final photo. It was a tearful last few days, following the announcement earlier this week that the restaurant that basically invented the gayborhood sold to the Warwick Melrose Hotel. No word yet on what will become of the space.
“We need to start a petition to keep it The Bronx!” one patron insisted to me. Of course, the Melrose probably bought it with a plan in mind we don’t know about, so I don’t know how successful such a petition would be. But it didn’t matter Sunday — everyone was choked up, but there was also joy in the air.