Saturday, February 16, 2019

A final good-bye for the old Kim's Coffee Shop?

Almost four years ago I posted some photos of a facade on Penn Ave. in Garfield made up with a pretty distinctively Korean look The eaves on 5447 Penn Ave. (map) are made to resemble a traditional Korean house, though it was actually a Vietnamese place opened in 1983 and run by Mai Hong Khuu until her cancer diagnosis and death in 2006. (Reviews from the last century commented on the windowless atmosphere, and even a 2004 City-Paper review feels especially dated, with Pittsburgh's increased familiarity with Vietnamese and Chinese over the last few years.)

A notice of condemnation was posted on February 12 where the door once was, warning of an "unsafe structure" and "imminent danger," with the solutions required by the notice either repair or demolition. The former restaurant, as well as the building above it, were purchased in 2012 by the nearby Pittsburgh Glass Center, with the intention of turning it into student and artist housing. However, by all indications the two spots have been empty since the restaurant closed nearly 13 years ago. It was sold in 2018 to an LLC run by Ghassan Bejjani, a neurosurgeon who purchased four other vacant homes on the same block in 2015 (under a different LLC) and a building across the street last year.

As seen in 2015.