By Phil Corso
Another restaurant operated by the city Parks Department on the site once occupied by Caffe on the Green should open under a new name later this month, management said.
Vivaldi Ristorante has taken the last several months renovating the entire interior to reflect its new attitude in a spot where turnover has been fairly rapid in the past five years. The new Italian restaurant and ballroom will be the latest installment at the 201-10 Cross Island Pkwy. location after its last tenant, Patrizia’s, closed earlier this year.
Doors should open to the public later this month, management at the restaurant said, which was a bit later than originally anticipated. Back in March, the city Parks Department announced the site’s new ownership as 123 Restaurant Group, whose principals are Paul Nicaj and George Makkos, with an expected opening date in mid-May.
But because of pending permits and ongoing renovations on the inside, Vivaldi’s opening was pushed back a bit.
Nicaj and Makkos also operate Battery Gardens in Battery Park under their restaurant group name. Makkos has also served as an operator for Flushing’s Terrace on the Park.
Before the change in ownership, Patrizia’s of Bayside had operated at the location for about a year after it replaced another upscale restaurant called Valentino’s on the Green. Its original managers, Giacomo and Gennaro Alaio, said Patrizia’s opened up to rave reviews, but eventually scaled down its offerings to only catering and closed its lunch and dinner services.
Before that, the site was known for many years as Caffe on the Green, when it was operated by Joe Franco, who lost the concession in January 2009.
A Parks Department spokesman said a tough economy was the ultimate reason for Patrizia’s demise, but the new ownership should be successful because of its track record throughout the city.
The new restaurant will have an Italian-style menu and decor with a Mediterranean twist, management said. Its new interior is bright and welcoming with wooden furniture, a fireplace and the signature bar that was virtually left untouched.
Seating will also be offered outside on the building’s patio overlooking the nearby Clearview Golf Course.
The new restaurant will operate under a 17-year license agreement, Parks said. It will be open seven days a week and will offer lunch, dinner and catering services, management said.
The Parks Department operates the concession and said the new owners will assume the existing lease under its existing terms, as was done in previous changes at the site.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.