The shuttered Ozzie’s coffeehouse will be reborn with a new name — and possibly a wine list! — one block south of the defunct shop.
Melissa Azulai — who ran Ozzie’s Coffee on Seventh Avenue for 18 years — is now leasing new digs on Seventh Avenue between Berkeley and Lincoln places, where a Mexican restaurant once stood.
Merchants spotted Azulai — who closed the coffee house this week after a dispute with the landlord — moving furniture and an espresso machine from her vacant old shop to the new location on Wednesday.
She did not return calls seeking comment — but told neighbors she is considering ditching the name “Ozzie’s Coffee” and plans to serve beer and wine in the evenings (although she has not yet filed a liquor license with the state).
The move comes after Azulai posted a sign last week in the storied establishment announcing she would close and implying she had been priced out.
Her landlord, Kevin Kelley, said that Azulai was in fact leaving because she had not paid bills since December.
Public records tell a similar story, indicating Ozzie’s has struggled financially in the past year: Azulai has been sued by a gas company, paid a $15,500 legal settlement and announced that she and her former partner will lease away half of their Fifth Avenue Ozzie’s location.
The new cheaper venue — once the site of La Taqueria — might turn things around.
This time, she will run the business solo, instead of with her ex-husband and former business partner, Allon Azulai.
Longtime merchants are rooting for her.
“Welcome to the block!” said Louis Barricelli, who owns Cousin John’s Cafe & Bakery next door.