NEWBURYPORT — Despite being told to move out by the end of March, Plum Island Coffee Roasters will be open Thursday and the days that follow, according to owner Bruce Vogel.
Vogel’s announcement came Wednesday, the day his landlord, Newburyport Development, wanted him to vacate his coffee shop.
“We’re supposed to be out today but we’re not,” Vogel said.
For more than 15 years, Plum Island Coffee Roasters has been a fixture near the city’s waterfront. In addition to Plum Island Coffee Roasters, Vogel owns Souffle’s coffee shop in Market Square and owned Commune on Pleasant Street until it closed in 2020.
Vogel’s lease for Plum Island Coffee Roasters expired in early 2019 and since then he has been a tenant at will. That means Newburyport Development could ask him to leave whenever it saw fit.
Newburyport Development, part of landowner New England Development, gave Vogel 45 days to clear out in mid-February to make room for Luchos, a Mexican-style cantina expected to open there this fall.
Luchos, part of The Fleury Group of restaurants, will move into 54-56R Merrimac St. later this year, according to Newburyport Development.
Ever since Vogel, a Newburyport city councilor at large, received notice that he needed to leave, the public outcry has grown.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 15,450 people had signed an online petition calling for the shop to be spared.
While March 31 marked the last of the 45 days since Vogel was given notice, a quick glimpse inside the coffeehouse on Wednesday showed no signs the business was closing anytime soon.
Vogel said after having some recent “dialogue” with Newburyport Development representatives, he did not know how or when he would be leaving. Asked for clarification on what that meant, Vogel declined to elaborate.
Nick Watkins of Newburyport, one of a handful of customers at Plum Island Coffee Roasters on Wednesday afternoon, said he was disheartened to learn that a piece of what he called “old Newburyport” would be lost to make room for a cantina owned by a person with other restaurants in other communities.
“I don’t want to see it go,” Watkins said, adding that he and his wife would be coming back as often as possible for as long as possible. “I hope they can find another spot that’s just as successful.”
An email to Newburyport Development for comment was not returned Wednesday by The Daily News’ deadline.
Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.