LARK and ELK Cafes Looking For New Owners

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Photo by Ditmas Park Corner
Lark Cafe, Ditmas Park / Photo by Ditmas Park Corner

Early this morning, Kari Browne, proprietor of LARK Cafe in Ditmas Park and ELK Cafe in Windsor Terrace, posted to Facebook to inform her clients that while she’d like to continue running the much loved cafes, it won’t be possible, as her family is relocating to Australia in the fall.

Fret not, both cafes will operate as usual, while looking for new owners.

Kari was a local mom on a mission when she first posted to the Flatbush Family Network way back in 2011, asking if anyone would be interested in opening a cafe that was kid friendly. There were not many places for parents in the neighborhood to socialize outside the home or playground after Vox Pop closed.

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The response was an overwhelming yes, and with help from friends, neighbors and some funding from CAMBA, LARK opened its doors on July 13, 2012. When a second opportunity came up, Kari did not hesitate and ELK Cafe opened in Windsor Terrace last January.

ELK opening fireplace
Elk Cafe, Windsor Terrace

Both LARK and ELK have established a reputation for catering to the needs of families with children, are beautiful, have loyal followings, and – more importantly for the new owners – are profitable. Now, Kari is looking to let another local family try their hand in running them:

I am humbled to see what these bustling Brooklyn staples have come to represent in the daily lives of thousands of our neighbors, and it has been a difficult decision to let them go. But I also know that this transition represents an incredible opportunity for someone else (perhaps, I hope, another local family like ours) to experience the joys of owning a thriving neighborhood café that has, gratefully, placed me and my family within the heart of our diverse community.

In fact, it is my hope that I am able to pass on the torch of business ownership to another “neighbor-entrepreneur” who values owning an anchoring and vibrant gathering place in our community. I believe that there is an exciting opportunity for a thoughtful neighbor to add their own creative voice to these cafes as they continue to grow and flourish.

The two cafes are available for sale either together, or separately.

LARK: Details Over 1000sq/ft of café space and 1000sq/ft of basement space • Finished basement with storage and office space • Over 40 seats in cafe • 2 large bathrooms with changing tables in each • 6 year lease – current rent is $3,052 • Beer and Wine license • New HVAC, electrical, plumbing and equipment

Asking Price $299,000 (Includes: Turn-key business, TWO storefronts, 6-year lease, equipment, furniture/furnishings, full inventory, business name, vendor contacts, teacher/class contacts, branding materials, POS system with customer profiles and contacts and an established website).

ELK: Details • Over 800sq/ft of café space and 2,000sq/ft of backyard space and 800sq/ft of basement space • large basement with tons of storage space • Beautiful and rare wood-burning fireplace • Over 15-20 seats in café, capacity of 50-75 people in backyard • 1 large bathroom with changing table • 9 year lease – current rent is $4,3052 • Beer and Wine license • New HVAC, electrical, plumbing and equipment

Asking Price $325,000 (Includes: Turn-key business, 9-year lease, equipment, furniture/furnishings, full inventory, business name, vendor contacts, teacher/class contacts, POS system with customer profiles and contacts, branding materials and an established website).

Just in case you are wondering, there are other cafes up for sale in Brooklyn:

Below is the full letter from Kari:

To our wonderful neighbors and customers,

I write with some very exciting news to share. I will be moving to Australia with my family at the end of the year. As many of you know, my husband, Mark, is Australian, and we have decided to pursue a new adventure overseas.

We arrived at this difficult decision based on some exciting new opportunities in Sydney coupled with our desire to be closer to our Australian family (the wonderful climate and quality of life aren’t bad either!).

I have had the great fortune of being a part of the diverse Brooklyn communities of Ditmas Park, Kensington, and Windsor Terrace for the last six years. And although we are thrilled with the prospect of new adventures ahead, our hearts are heavy with sadness at the thought of moving away from this special community. And the decision to move to Australia has led me to another difficult decision:

I will be selling my beloved cafes, LARK and ELK.I am humbled to see what these bustling Brooklyn staples have come to represent in the daily lives of thousands of our neighbors, and it has been a difficult decision to let them go. But I also know that this transition represents an incredible opportunity for someone else (perhaps, I hope, another local family like ours) to experience the joys of owning a thriving neighborhood café that has, gratefully, placed me and my family within the heart of our diverse community. In fact, it is my hope that I am able to pass on the torch of business ownership to another “neighbor-entrepreneur” who values owning an anchoring and vibrant gathering place in our community. I believe that there is an exciting opportunity for a thoughtful neighbor to add their own creative voice to these cafes as they continue to grow and flourish.

Owning LARK and ELK for these years has been a life changing experience for me; as many of you know I had a “previous life” as a journalist for the BBC. But after having my first son I felt the pull to do something else with my life – something that challenged me, but that also allowed me to see the fruits of my labor in my community every day. And, frankly, something that allowed me to be closer to home. And as it turns out, owning two businesses in my own neighborhood has been an incredibly rewarding experience! While “hard work” doesn’t quite begin to describe the reality of owning a small business, the flexibility of my days, the ability to meet and visit with neighbors on a daily basis, the creativity and autonomy I’m able to express, and the pride I feel in running and owning something that is so valuable to so many people are beyond satisfying. With the help of all of you, I’ve built two healthy, thriving businesses that people truly enjoy.

Along the way, I’ve met so many incredible neighbors, I’ve provided dozens of jobs to wonderful hard-working locals and I’ve been lucky enough to see so many babies grow up before my eyes! And most importantly, I’ve created a life that I love. And I’m excited to pass this opportunity on to someone else who may be ready for a life change and an opportunity to leave your own creative mark on this dynamic community.

As we go thru the process of bringing in new owners, the cafes will run normally and business will continue on as it always has.

For those who may be interested in buying one or both cafes, please contact me at kari@larkcafe.com for more detailed information.

All the best,

Kari Browne

Owner of LARK and ELK

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Well that explains a lot. Sort of felt like they were calling it in for the last few years and now we know why. They were! This is the owner’s side project. I hope someone tips in with passion for coffee and steps up their game!

  2. They have only been open “the last few years.” I always thought Lark was great – certainly one of the most inviting places to go with small children. I met many neighbors there, whereas at a traditional cafe everyone keeps to themselves – and for the cranky folks, there’s a separate less kiddie area. I haven’t been to Elk as much.

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