Iconic New York City coffee shop closes after rent, higher wages take a toll

New York Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lamented the closing of an iconic New York City coffee shop that she used to work at but closed partly because of policies she supports.

The Union Square shop, which rose to fame after appearing on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” will close its doors after nearly 30 years.

“We’ve had a great run — 28 years and honestly it was a combination of factors that altogether caused us to just not be able to continue the operation,” said Coffee Shop co-owner Charles Milite to FOX Business’ Charles Payne on Friday.

Ironically enough, the business ranked in the top 100 grossing restaurants in the United States for 20 years, but can’t afford the high rent, that many other New York City restaurants also endure.

“Our rent at $2 million a year is pretty staggering,” he said. “And although our revenues are well, if you were to walk by the restaurant, go into the restaurant, you’d think it was a busy, bustling, hustling place.”

And it isn’t just the burden of high-priced rent taking its toll. Efforts to force businesses to adopt higher minimum wages are backfiring, he said.

“It’s a tough one for us because we understand that our employees have to live in the most expensive city in the country,” he said. “But we have a business to run and unfortunately the economies of a restaurant are such that your payroll is your largest expense and if you can’t control it you have problems with the bottom line.”

While most of his employees already earn between $18 and $20 hourly, he said more restaurants will turn to technology to help replace some of the lost revenue.