Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Good-Bye, Maybelle's. We Will Miss You

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A PMFA reader alerted us to the fact that Maybelle's Café at 502 Henry Street at the corner of Sackett Street  is closing this weekend. I had to check it out for myself and stopped by this popular neighborhood spot. The first thing I noticed was the quote by Charlie Chaplin written on the blackboard standing in front of the café. The young lady behind the counter confirmed that this Saturday will be its last day. When I asked about the reason, she told me that "the owner is moving on to other things."
Too bad. Maybelle's had some of the best coffee in the neighborhood and was always a great place to work and to meet friends. Their sandwiches were pretty taste as well.

Let us hope that another café will take its place.

Of course, Maybelle's occupied the space which was once the beloved Cammareri Bakery. In the late 1987, several scenes of the movie Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage were filmed in the bakery.

(stills from the movie Moonstruck

Below is a  scene of Loretta Castorini and Ronny Cammareri's  first encounter filmed in Camareri's basement.




11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see Maybelle's go. They had a good and long run. I did not shed a tear when Cammareri closed. They were the worst bakery in the neighborhood and their service was surly; a lot like the sales girl in the movie.

Martin Rowe said...

Two essential unknowns: Where will Stanley Crouch hold court? And where will I get my tofu scramble or vegan BLT? Sorry to see it go.

chance bliss said...


I was a regular for a number of years but stopped going once Henry's Local opened down the street. I've probably spent several thousand dollars there over the course of three years, given how often I stopped in for a morning coffee. I never had a problem with Maybelle's over the quality of the food nor their coffee, but instead, it was the customer service. They had a hard time keeping staff, especially the competent ones, so far too often the service there was defined by inconsistency and carelessness and never did I once feel that my patronage mattered to the owner and whomever she managed to keep on her payroll for more than a month. I dropped them in a second once I discovered a friendlier option a few blocks away, whose coffee is far superior to Maybelle's.

All the owner had to do was look across the way to the Farmacy to see what decent customer service looks like, but that never seemed to be her priority.

Yeah, it was nice to see Stanley Crouch holding court in there. I hope he finds a good spot in the neighborhood where there's room enough for him and the other writers who camp there all day, otherwise, I suggest he walk down to Building on Bond in Boerum Hill, where he can hang out with the likes of Jonathan Ames, Joan Osbourne and, occasionally, Jonathan Lethem. ; )

Anonymous said...

The green sign and facade was fake. From the film. And it was left up for awhile after. Rotting off the front. It was scenery. I barely remember the bakery inside but it was a classic.

Anonymous said...

I've lived on Henry between Sackett and DeGraw my whole life. My family has been here 87 years on Henry St. and can tell you the honest truth that the facade was not fake. In fact it was left up until The Moon Dance restaurant took over. I remember cause across the street was an Uncle Louie G's where Mission Martial Arts is now. If you really want to go "Old School" we should talk about the beauty parlor that was next door to Cammareri's. That's the space where Maybelle's has there sit down area to eat. I remember the inside of the bakery well. Especially the old crabby Baker who appears in the movie. Anyway, when the Moon Dance restaurant took down the sign it was just bare (like it is now). After Moon Dance left, the Red Rail took it over with their White and Red neon sign in the center of the bare space. They were the ones who put up the clock on the side of the building. They were there for sometime until they left and Nadre's took over which than became Maybelle's soon after. Sorta reminds me of the block before with C-town being the first market than G&G followed by Met and now Key Food. Sorry to go on like this.

Katia said...

Anonymous, love your history lesson. I remember the beauty parlor well. I think it may have stayed open a while longer after Cammareri closed.
I really loved Cammareri bread. It was my favorite in the neighborhood when I first moved here.
Also remember the excitement in Carroll Gardens when Cher came to film Moonstruck.
So many years ago.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:35 is correct. The Cammareri facade and sign were not fake and we're not fabricated for the movie. They existed for several decades before all the changes that took place after Cammameri closed. My grandparents shopped there in the 1950s and beyond, and the Cammareri signage was always there. I remember the store's interior looking exactly as it did in the film. It was not altered in any way.

gypsy said...

Absolutely correct

Carol Gardens said...

I also immediately though of Stanley Crouch! Also some other writers whom I can't identify but were there typing every single day. Some refugees from Fall Cafe and Tea Lounge.

Mitch Friedman said...

The beauty salon was called The Little Chatterbox, if I remember correctly? It was still there when I first moved to the neighborhood in late '97.

Katia said...

That's it. Thanks for remembering. What a great name for a beauty shop.
I remember it well.