There's a lot more than coffee brewing at Obzeet Cafe. Despite claims to the contrary, this longtime restaurant-shop will not simply be packing up and moving to 17606 Preston Rd. Instead, the restaurant and shop will split into two. And, in what looks like the makings of a family feud, so will the two brothers who've shared the space for the past 20 years.
What is true: The funky shop that sells salt lamps and chimineas is moving and changing its name to Lekka, as claimed by owners Lynn and Gary Kirschenbaum.
But the restaurant, owned by Gary's brother Joel Kirschenbaum, will keep the Obzeet name and reopen at 18910 Preston Rd. Joel says that he's been managing the restaurant for the past 17 years and that the situation presented by his sister-in-law and manager Julia Sprenger is misleading.
"There are no lies here at all," says Lynn Kirschenbaum. "We're opening a new place under the name of Lekka. If you want to take your story down, I've got enough publicity out there now."
"Obzeet Cafe is relocating one door down from the old location," Joel says. "Nothing has changed. We are not closing. Gary has gone on his own, and his business is called Lekka."
Confusion arises because the two have been sharing the same space. While Lynn and Gary ran the retail, Joel ran the restaurant.
"I let them use my telephones and Internet since he took over the business from my mother and father after they died," Joel says. "But Obzeet is my federal trademark. People that have read the article keep phoning me and asking why I'm closing."
"This business was started by my mother and father," Joel says. "When they set it up 20 years ago, it was only a store, and they sold coffee for the customers. When I arrived in America, I took part of the outside and created the restaurant. Gary helped my parents set it up, but I've been the restaurant since the beginning."
Lynn Kirschenbaum claims otherwise. "I was the original owner. I opened the restaurant," she says. "We're a family business, and we've now split away. You're getting involved in a family feud. We only wish him luck."
She has no explanation for why she failed to mention previously that Joel would be keeping the Obzeet name and opening a cafe.
"We allowed it. We said he could have the name Obzeet," she says. "The reason I chose the name Lekka is that Obzeet has been around a long time. We were going to call it Obzeet, but our landlord didn't want us to call it that, for several reasons.
"There are no lies here at all. We're opening a new place under the name of Lekka. If you want to take your story down, I've got enough publicity out there now. We have a story coming out in D Magazine. I have a lot of press."
Lynn says they'll still open their own restaurant but that she has no updates on the hiring of a pastry chef or other menu news.
As for Obzeet Cafe, Joel says that he's looking at opening by April.
"Everything will be the same, but newer and better," he says. "We'll still have the Greek salad with poppyseed dressing and the chocolate eclairs and cakes and espressos and bottomless coffee in numerous flavors."