Tag Archives: reopening

New owner looks to end unlucky streak at former Patrizia’s of Bayside site


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The new owner of a luckless Bayside restaurant site is determined to end a streak of bad breaks at the locale.

“We’re going to bring it back to its original glory,” said George Makkos, whose newest restaurant, Vivaldi, replaces Patrizia’s of Bayside.

The 201-10 Cross Island Parkway building had been a revolving door of new management since the popular Caffe on the Green closed in 2009.

Valentino’s on the Green took over after that, but was soon followed by Patrizia’s. Patrizia’s shut down after less than a year in business.

Vivaldi is set to open for dinner in the first or second week of June.

“I don’t want to compare myself to anybody,” said Makkos, 51, of Manhattan. “I cannot speak for anybody else. I can only speak for what I stand for, and I stand for quality, perfection, impeccable service and attentiveness to the customer.”

A Parks Department spokesperson said Makkos has a record of running successful upscale restaurants. The president of 123 Restaurant Group, he operates several wedding venues and catering halls in Queens, Manhattan and Long Island, including Battery Gardens and the Venetian Yacht Club.

Makkos said the menu will feature homemade dishes cooked to original recipes concocted by Caffe’s former executive chef. He added that Vivaldi will use the finest ingredients on everything including brick-oven pizza.

While the menu and prices have not been finalized, Makkos said there will be “gracious portions for a value.” Food options will also change to refl ect the season, with lighter dishes in the summer.

Vivaldi is in the process of obtaining a liquor license. The restaurant will be open seven days a week. After the June launch, it will expand to offer lunch and catering along with dinner.

 

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Following 2011 fire, O’Neill’s looks toward November reopening


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A white SUV pulled alongside George O’Neill as he sat next to the lot where his restaurant — O’Neill’s — is rising from the ashes.

“When are you going to open?”

This is what George O’Neill’s life has become.

The co-owner of the eponymous restaurant and bar sits outside the site that has been in his family for more than 80 years as it’s rebuilt ahead of a mid-November reopening date.

The passer-by in the white SUV was just a sample of O’Neill’s daily routine.

“I’m questioned every day. ‘When are you opening? Can we book a party?’” O’Neill said. “Evidently, it’s more important than I realized.”

The Maspeth fixture burned down on May 2, 2011 in a five-alarm blaze that needed more than 200 firefighters to extinguish.

O’Neill, who lives in Atlantic Beach, was staying in Maspeth that night.

“When I walked out I saw all the fire engines, I figured it was just a fire alarm,” said O’Neill who keeps a place in the neighborhood across the street from the restaurant. “And then all of a sudden, boom.”

Nothing was saved in the fire that burned for days.

More than 1,000 customers joined O’Neill outside the neighborhood fixture early that morning as the flames and word spread.

“I was mesmerized. I didn’t know what to think,” O’Neill remembered of his initial reaction to seeing his family’s place in flames. “It hit me a couple of days later. Oh my God, I’m out of a job.”

The bar has been in the family since 1928 when O’Neill’s father opened what was then called the Plateau Tavern.

As years passed, O’Neill began buying up the property surrounding the watering hole: a grocery store, a barber shop, a liquor store, a cleaners, a bakery, a delicatessen.

Following the fire and out of a job for the first time in his life, O’Neill got restless. He visited his daughters, but ended up back at the restaurant, setting up a table and chairs stationed under an umbrella to monitor the progress being made on the bar.

Frequenters will stop by for a coffee or a chat as O’Neill sits in waiting. Talking with the regulars is what he said he missed most about the bar.

Right now, O’Neill is biding his time on permits so the construction can continue.

He’s also waiting for an electric meter, but doesn’t expect one soon with Con Edison workers still locked out.

“It’s one thing after another,” he said. “When I think about it, it makes me sick. We’re in our 15th month since the fire.”

But O’Neill’s eyes light up when he discusses the plans for the reopened restaurant.

He pointed out where the 125-foot bar will stand and the catering space that can fit 300 patrons. And of course he mentions the dining fare.

“A lot of seafood, prime steaks, wings,” he said. “We’ve always had good food.”

November 13 has been set as the target date for the grand re-opening

“I’m looking forward to it tremendously.”

Tudor Park’s $1M upgrades ready for their close-up


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Batter up!

The city’s renovations to the Tudor Park ball field have reached completion, although residents may have to wait until spring to plant their feet on the new grounds.

“Tudor Park is always a very active area, and it’s always very full. When you have a park that people use, it needs to be upgraded,” said Frank Dardani, president of the Ozone Tudor Civic Association. “I think this is great. Any time that the city wants to do some work and upgrade things, I’m very happy about it.”

According to Dardani, the original field suffered huge draining problems along with damages from constant overuse.

“The field was not in great shape. It was pretty beat up,” Dardani said. “It was just so old that something needed to be done.”

Now, thanks to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, newly-planted trees and bushes line the perimeters of the new two-sport dual baseball and cricket field, which has been laid down with new and natural grass. Dardani also said the park now has three pieces of exercise equipment for seniors in place of old, concrete bleachers that have been removed from the site.

“We’re a small, tight-knit community. We want to get our seniors out of the house and give them something to do, and we want our young families to come out with their children, too,” said Dardani. “It’s very important to have a very safe environment for everyone to come to.”

Dardani said he hopes the upgrades will draw more community members to the park, ultimately cutting down neighborhood crime and gang activity.

“If more good and responsible people are in the park, just their presence alone will be a deterrent for these people. There will be eyes and ears watching,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dardani said he’s working on securing a sprinkler system in the park to make sure the $1 million spent on the project — provided by Borough President Helen Marshall — doesn’t go down the drain.

“That grass will get beat up pretty quick in the heat of the summer,” Dardani said. “We’re more than happy with what they gave us. We wanted to thank the borough president, but we also wanted to make her aware if at all possible to put in a sprinkler system to finish the job and have it last longer than it probably would without it.”

Construction on the new field began in September of 2011 and was completed this winter. It is slated to open in the late spring when the new sod properly “attaches” itself to the ground underneath, said a Parks Department spokesperson.