Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
La Gran Via Bakery is a night owl's best friend, serving up Cuban coffee and cake 24-7.
“People come at all hours from very far away for the coffee,”said Royd Leyva, 29, a third-generation owner of the bakery at 4516 Fifth Ave. with sister Betsy, 33.
The siblings' parents and grandparents opened the Sunset Park shop in 1978.
The Sunset Park Fifth Avenue BID area has improved exponentially since then.
“When I was growing up, it was bad here,” Royd said.
Nevertheless, when he was a teenager, the Leyvas decided to start keeping the bakery open around the clock.
It just made sense – there were several car services in the area with drivers working all night. However late the java joint stayed open, when it was time to lock up, there was invariably someone at the door hoping to do some nocturnal noshing.
Cake sales at La Gran Via are brisk. It helps that prices are reasonable: $25 for a Valentine's Day cake, $30 for a large tres leches cake with fruit and nuts.
Also helpful to the Leyvas: they own the rowhouse their bakery is in, so they don't have to deal with leasing issues like so many Fifth Avenue merchants and restaurateurs.
“Rents are on the rise, everything is pretty much on the rise,” Royd said. “It's tough.”
Consider the fate of the furniture shop that was the bakery's neighbor. It closed after a quarter-century in business because of a rent hike.