Shot in the Dark Cafe, downtown’s quirky 24/7 co-op diner next door to the months-old AC Hotel by Marriott, will close on Jan. 25 after more than 14 years in business.
Pam Lopez, one of the restaurant’s 10 employee owners, said they were notified on Jan. 1 that they have until the end of the month to leave the downtown space at 121 E. Broadway, despite renewing their lease in September. The letter from Pam Kaiser, who represents the California trust that owns the building, said that the lease was canceled.
Kaiser did not return a phone call Monday seeking comment.
Lopez, who has been part of the employee co-op that owns the restaurant for a year, said the group renewed the lease last September, agreeing to rent hikes that took their rate from $1,100 a month to $4,400 effective next month; the increases kicked in in January, she said.
In a Facebook posting Sunday night, the restaurant’s owners said they were being squeezed out as part of the gentrification of downtown that has forced several neighboring businesses to close.
“We kind of got pushed out,” Lopez said, echoing the Facebook post.
Shot in the Dark Cafe had long been the bastion of strong coffee and deep loyalties, serving up their popular oversized burritos and overly generous portion of home fries with an equally oversized serving of humanity. Lopez said the cafe, which never closed except for a few hours a year for annual cleaning and repairs, was a safe haven for Tucson’s disenfranchised communities including the young, low-income people and those identifying as LGBT.