Simon Sips has lost its Simon. Seven months after opening the espresso and wine bar, which occupies the former Tasting Room space on East 1st Street, Simon Mammon has parted ways with his namesake operation. Mammon tells Fork in the Road that while the cause of his departure came down to differences with his business partner, exhaustion also played a role: “I’ve basically worked an average of 105 to 115 hours a week for the past seven months without a day off,” he says. “I didn’t like the business being open when I wasn’t around.”
Mammon says that the cafe will continue to operate, despite lackluster sales that have been further exacerbated by the economy. He doesn’t know if its name will change; legally, the cafe can keep it for up to a year.
Mammon is considering the possibility of doing something in Midtown, where he owned two coffee kiosks prior to opening Simon Sips. “There’s a dearth of good coffee up there,” he says. “If an opportunity came along, I would take it. There may be a landlord out there who’s looking to add some bonus to a building, especially in this economy. People need things to make a building more attractive, like a first-class espresso bar.”
And, as he well knows, there are few places caffeine fiends won’t travel to meet their needs. “It’s kind of nuts,” Mammon says. “People who are into coffee live it from the moment they open their eyes to the minute they close them. I’ve never met any group of people, whether they’re horse people, sailing people, or investment people, that have such tunnel vision. They’ll take an espresso and it’s like they’re taking it to a laboratory in their mouth.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 24, 2009