Member Document Archive

State of the Cafe: February 2008

Dear Cafe Members & Patrons,

In November 2008, the membership approved the board’s proposal to
seek a manager/operator of the restaurant with the goal of finding
someone with the experience and ability to run the cafe profitably. The
operator would manage the restaurant and the cooperative would maintain
its role in the arts and music.

In late January, the board was approached by an individual who was
actively looking for such an arrangement. Mr. Karim, an executive chef
for Lebanese Taverna, a Middle Eastern restaurant located in Washington,
Annapolis, Silver Spring, and Baltimore, contacted Peter May who met
with Mr. and Mrs. Karim at the cafe. They liked the cafe’s atmosphere
and particularly liked the friendly community-oriented nature of the
Roosevelt Center.

At the February 3, 2008 annual membership meeting, Peter described the
status of the search for a new manager . The membership voted to
support the board in its efforts to reach an agreement with Mr. Karim as
the new manager. Since then, the board has been trying to arrange the
details of an agreement with Mr. Karim as new manager/restaurant operator.

We are currently negotiating the terms of an interim agreement and
hope to finalize it within days. The next step will be to draw up an
official contract with the help of our attorney. We anticipate that the
contract will be completed and signed on or about March 1. Once the
contract is signed, the cafe hopes to have an arrangement that will
prove attractive and enjoyable for the community. The agreement will
help the cafe’s financial viability and retain a venue for the arts and

The hard work of the employees and the volunteers under difficult
circumstances has allowed the cafe to pay its utility and rent bills so
the doors could stay open while the board sought a solution to the
cafe’s financial problems. The cafe had to reluctantly let the
remaining three employees go on February 6. The volunteers are
continuing to operate the cafe on a somewhat shortened schedule that
eliminates lunch on Thursday and Friday. A great deal of gratitude is
owed to Fontella Williams, Gary Brent, Deb Taylor, Barbara Stevens, Don
Comis, Richard McMullen, Leslie Brothers, Barbara Simon, FONDCA,
patrons, organizers of special events, and all of the volunteers for
keeping things going over the past five months.

We will continue to keep you abreast of the progress of negotiations
as developments occur. Come to the cafe and enjoy the food and drink,
see neighbors, meet new friends, view the art, and enjoy the music.

Bill Wilkerson, Financial Officer