Astoria gastropub opens

Astoria gastropub opens
Photo by Bill Parry
By Bill Parry

Two successful Astoria restaurant owners have joined together to create the neighborhood’s latest gastropub lounge.

Matthew Katakis and Nick Neocleous teamed up to create Markets, at 37-17 30th Ave., which is nearly ready for its grand opening after several weeks of a soft opening.

“I’ve been working on Marketa for several years now,” Katakis said. “Building it out the right way was expensive, so Nick joined me a year and a half ago to help me finish the project.”

The two were born and raised in Astoria and have been friends for more than 20 years. Katakis already owns Pita Pan at 37-15 30th Ave., as well as Butcher Bar, at 37-08 30th Ave., and with Marketa he will have three restaurants on the same block.

“Plus I just took over The Thai Pavillion and I’m going to expand Butcher Bar into that property,” Katakis said.

Neocleous, who owns a sushi restaurant and bar called Central, at 20-30 Steinway St., said, “Nick has a background in marketing, but his experience running a lounge is what really helps.”

Marketa is three stories high with a sidewalk café, rooftop garden and backyard patio in addition to the restaurant and bar. Marketa can seat nearly 300 diners depending on the season.

The kitchen is run by two top chefs: Yair Lenchner, who worked at Jean-Georges and The Mark, and Carlos Pico, from La Morina. They put together a wide-ranging menu that includes roasted bone marrow, Cornish game hen, a truffle-grilled cheese spread with duck pate and passion fruit pork belly with mint and grapefruit.

Entrees range from $13 to $21. Many of the items have a Spanish influence, but there is one thing they all have in common.

“Everything is made with the freshest local and seasonal ingredients,” Katakis said. “We don’t even have a freezer everything’s so fresh.”

Marketa will have brunch on weekends and a special late night menu available. Eventually they will host special events like wine tastings and pairings and classes taught by the chefs.

“We plan on making this a unique space that will be constantly changing like the seasons,” Katakis said. “It will be like a piece of Manhattan right here in Astoria, with something for everyone.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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