Imperial Coffee House Has Closed

The “temporarily closed” signs that had been posted at Imperial Coffee House, the diner at the southwest corner of Chambers and Church, have been replaced with ones that just say “closed.” I checked in with Basics Plus, the hardware store next door, and the clerk said her co-workers had told her that it was closing for good. “We have to move anyway,” she said, referring to the planned development of the site (which was what pushed City Hall Wines & Spirits to a new spot on Church). “Maybe he just figured it wasn’t worth reopening.”

Basics Plus, meanwhile, will be leaving sometime in August or September.

No word yet on how big the new building at 108 Chambers will be. From the Commercial Observer in April 2013, when 108 Chambers went on the market: “The one-story retail building is a development site which includes 2,000 square feet of existing retail and up to 14,000 square feet of buildable space. ‘Combined with contiguous properties that could be a much larger development.’” The only potential contiguous properties are the dilapidated ones to the west, on Chambers—including the building where the Patriot Saloon is. I don’t know anything about the Patriot’s building, but the owner of the two buildings to the west of it, 112-114 Chambers, was waiting for the economy to right itself and then the Chambers construction to be completed before converting them to rental apartments. They’re in a landmarked district (not sure about 110; Lynn, do you know?), which would make a teardown difficult but not impossible—but conceivably at least 110 Chambers could sell its air rights to the new building at 108.

UPDATE: According to Crain’s, 108 Chambers was bought today by Greystone, which plans on building condos there—but, amazingly, not yet. Former owner “Ashkenazy just arranged two leases that will fill the retail space at 108 Chambers St. for the next decade.”

Basics Plus



  1. The Imperial was nasty and a blight on the neighborhood. Glad it’s gone.

    • are you joking dude? where is there a better breakfast place? for 7.50 you got 3 over easy, home fries, corn beef hash, toast, juice and unlimited coffee. the food is fresh and good. imperial coffee house is a blight on the neighborhood? really? the real blight is the never-ending construction on chambers st. that is forcing all the businesses out.

    • anyone that doesn’t like imperial coffee house should be rounded up and pecked to death by ducks.

      • You tell ‘im!

        Nah Jeff Watson doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t care that what you could get for just $7.50 Kitchenette or Bubby’s charges double for. Cuz Jeff is a Kitchenette/Bubby’s kinda guy. He doesn’t like us people who want to pay $7.50 for breakfast tops. He wants the lower and middle income people out.

        He just wants the “blight” or basically the character of TriBeCa out, because Chambers Street is a pile of shit now without ICH.

        • Can we all try to let this go now? I’ve already rejected one comment. It’s a beautiful day. Go outside.

          • Yes it is a beautiful day and I went outside (not that I have to because you say I have to.)

            If Jeff Watson didn’t talk crap we wouldn’t have written what we wrote. Btw the guy above me posted what he could’ve posted in one comment so address him.

          • Hahaha, I never got to try the Imperial but after reading these comments I sure wish I did.

  2. The Imperial was neither nasty nor a blight on the neighborhood and I’m not glad it’s gone. Too bad you and others of your snobby ilk didn’t appreciate a diner which had been in business since the 1920s (looong before TriBeCa existed) thus was open for almost a century (and I bet was at least 60 years older than you) which served working people including neighborhood residents like myself for that long, so hardly a “blight”. In what way was it a “blight”? It didn’t fit into your vision of an affluent TriBeCa? Enjoy whatever overpriced restaurant which would be lucky to make it to five years you go to.

    Btw for those who do not know Basics Plus has a second location in TriBeCa at 386 Canal Street (which is actually on West Broadway just below Canal) which is not closing, so you can go to that one after the one at 148 Church Street closes. There’s a third BP at 85 John Street in the Financial District, too.

  3. I just saw this thread. I loved the imperial. The cooks worked like a machine and it was great to watch, while eating breakfast at the bar. A mix of real people ate at that place…tourist, locals, construction workers, city workers. There is a new diner on Church…but it is not the same.

    A small business owner in Tribeca and a 25 year + Tribeca resident, I am missing the old character of Tribeca…
    Diana Darling

  4. Well, I live on Chambers (80) and have suffered through five years of mind numbing noise, construction filth, rats run amok and ugliness. I am devastated to know that both southern corners of Chambers and Church will be torn down and ugly new buildings built. Not only is is sad to lose the charm of the bodega and diner, it is going to be another year or more living amid construction, scaffolding and noise. My only wish is that one day, Chambers Street residents can live in peace and city beauty. Please someone make this endless construction end!

  5. Barbara, how do you know that the buildings will be ugly?

  6. I raised my kids on Imperial nearly every Saturday morning, beginning long before the likes of hipster nouveau riche scumbags like this idiot Jeff Watson ever decided it would be “cool” to live downtown, and long before 9/11 transformed the neighborhood I selected in 1991 and have adored since then into the haven for exclusivity that it is rapidly becoming. I no longer feel the community as it was, and I am devastated for the employees of the Imperial, who were all hard working decent men, and for the many regular patrons who will dearly miss a good hot breakfast for a reasonable price. Now we all get to go the new diner and pay twice as much for the same meal. As soon as my youngest kid graduates high school, we are getting out of here and soon enough, it will only be populated by rich young white financiers and their ilk, who can have their own little isolated playland until they get old enough to realize their own vacuousness. My only solace will be taking a very handsome sum from one of these wannabes when I do, and that will be more than sufficient.

  7. I am heartbroken by the loss of what we refer to as “the diner” in my house. I’ve been eating at the imperial every Saturday since 1999, first with my husband, then with our kids in tow. The “guys” at the diner: Michael, Cristo, and so many more were such great men, so skilled in their craft. No one can deliver scrambled eggs to you as quickly and well!

    The loss to the neighborhood is unfathomable. I feel that its very soul has been ripped out. I dont recognize the neighborhood where my husband and I set roots and have been raising our family. It is disheartening to see another casualty of real estate avarice. When will take the place of the Imperial coffee house? A sliver condo building and a nail salon? a bank? a juice bar? it sickens me and mine. Where will I go for a cheap saturday egg sandwich? No where in this neighborhood that’s for sure.

  8. Another great, cheap, local place bites the dust! How sad! I fell like the neighborhood is going through it’s own World Financial Center transformation into Brookfield Place. Buddy’s is expensive and really bad, though the staff is lovely…gosh, dare I say that?
    Is knocking Bubby’s like outing the New Yorker on how horrible their poetry selections are? Shhh…

  9. Did Michael and everyone open a coffee house at another location.
    We visited from the UK on many trips to NYC?