Gaia Italian Cafe Thanks the Neighborhood for Its Support

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 at 10:21 am by
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Two weeks ago, proprietor Gaia Bagnasacco announced that she was closing her beloved subterranean cafe on East Houston. The surprising message arrived on a Friday afternoon, saying the next day would probably be the last. It was a shot heard ’round the neighborhood, upsetting many dedicated followers. Nevertheless, she was open again for Monday service (Gaia isn’t open Sundays), and continued onward with normal business hours.

But she made the “reopening” news official last Thursday with a Facebook post.

Thank you, thank you and again thank you! We did not expect so much love, appreciation and warm feeling from people, people who has gave us strengh to re-try and keep going on what we are doing. All our staff is so gratefull and so exciting to go on and we will! Thank you for showing us love in capitals letters: LOVE. All this love may come back to all of you in desired wishes for this new year and a lot of gratefulness!

Apparently frustration led to this impulse decision, which ultimately resulted in an outpouring of love for her cozy cafe. Just scope out some of the viscous commentary on Yelp to empathize with her plight. Despite high marks across the board, customer reviews call out Gaia for being “cranky” and a “Soup Nazi” server. This is New York and we like our characters. And we hope Gaia continues to cook for us…

Here’s a sample:

Now on to the not so good. Our interactions with this one female server/hostess was reminiscent of a Seinfeld episode stuck in the twilight zone. No exaggeration, she was an Italian version of the “Soup Nazi. ” The menu is a bit confusing for the uninitiated so I figured I’d ask the Pasta Nazi to clarify a few menu items. Needless to say she went ballistic, began speaking to us in a patronizing tone, and even said she’d break the menu down to the simplest of grammar for us to understand. She even called a member of our party ignorant because we tried to add him to our party after we’d ordered. It was insulting but also pretty hilarious. Quick tips: she’ll become irate with parties of more than six. What you see on the menu is what you get. Absolutely no substitutions. Address her with a question at your own risk. You may lose an eye in the process.

Or this one

I’ve been going to this little basement spot for the last two years and the food has constantly been good. Of particular note is the bread, cooked daily. The owner, however, is not as amicable as one would expect for someone in the hospitality business. She is downright gruff, and very often, especially in the evening, rude. I’ve learned to avoid the evenings and I now go there only for lunch.
Take my advice…

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