By Bill Parry
Armondo’s is coming back.
The beloved Jackson Heights Italian restaurant that was destroyed in a five-alarm blaze at the Bruson Building in April, will reopen at a new location. Owner Jerry Crisci has a deal in place to take over Trieste, at 73-16 Northern Blvd., just three blocks north.
“It’s true. I’m looking forward to reopening there,” Crisci said. “We’re going to do a little face-lifting and we should be ready to open by early February.”
After nearly 42 years at the corner of 74th Street and 37th Avenue, Armondo’s Italian Restaurant was one of 50 businesses that were shuttered following the fire. Plaza College relocated to Forest Hills and Frank’s Pharmacy found a spot further east on 37th Avenue.
Trieste, another popular Italian eatery, became available when owner Elio Honovic decided it was time to retire.
“I’m an old man of 72 with a knee problem that needs surgery,” he said. “I can’t stand and when you’re the chef, that makes it very difficult. It’s good for me to get out, but I’m not so happy. After 36 years this was like my home.”
Honovic owned Trieste with his two brothers, who have died.
“If I had my brothers, it would be a different story,” he said.
Meanwhile, the transition has been difficult because of city bureaucracy.
“It’s crazy the amount of permits you need from all these different agencies,” Crisci said. “It’s ridiculous. I have a license, he has a license, we should just transfer them. Instead I have to start from scratch.”
He added that so many entrepreneurs who try to start a business get so frustrated they just give up.
“Small businesses, making under $5 million a year, make up 75 to 80 percent of the gross domestic product in this country. It should be easier. Why do they need to know the color of my hair, for crying out loud?”
That was before Crisci was made aware of the Small Business Service’s NYC Business Acceleration Team that helps small business owners navigate through government licensing, permitting and compliance. The two-year old program has helped over 2,500 businesses to date, creating more than 37,000 employment opportunities in the process.
With one call to the Team’s hotline, (212) 618-8810, the Armondo owner’s mind was suddenly at ease.
“They were very, very helpful to me and they’re going to help me with the my whole application process,” Crisci said, adding that the team will help coordinate the necessary inspections and permits to get the new location on Northern Boulevard up and running.
“After that one phone call I started to think this will work out just fine,” he said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr[email protected]local.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.