By Sadef Ali Kully
Moda Grill, a new restaurant in downtown Jamaica, is slated to replace CityRib, which was open for almost three years at the Parsons Boulevard location.
For weeks, there has been a sign on the window of CityRib, “Closed Until Further Notice,” and the once bustling eatery now seems dark and empty.
But according to a Greater Jamaica Developent Corp. spokesman, a new restaurant opening at 89-04 Parsons Blvd. is on the horizon.
“We understand they are reopening within the next week or so with new ownership, a new menu and new name—Moda Grill. We are excited they will still be offering a quality sit-down dining experience in downtown Jamaica,” he said.
The GJDC said Jamaica residents, shoppers and diners could look forward to a new restaurant with new ownership.
Moda Grill is set to serve a traditional American menu, but it’s one with a slight twist. A restaurant source said the immediate menu will be simple but the future menu will be determined by diner recommendations. “It will cater to the neighborhood,” the source said.
The restaurant is part of Moda Upgraded Living, a mixed-use development which includes 346 rental units, 20,000 square feet of vacant community space and 50,000 square feet of retail space including a supermarket, stretching from Parsons Boulevard to 153rd Street on 89th Avenue.
The Dermot Company, which was behind the upscale Moda residential development, in partnership with the HPH Poulakakos restaurant umbrella, opened City Rib in 2013. The rib restaurant was focused on Southern cuisine.
The reason for CityRib’s closing remains a mystery.
The restaurant source said CityRib’s menu was somewhat limited, although the spot had widespread appeal in its first year of business.
According to city Health Department records, CityRib kitchen also had 13 violation points, which is still an A grade. A Health Department spokeswoman said in an email the violations did not result in the closure of the restaurant.
The Dermot Company and HPH Poulakakosdid not comment on the closure of CityRib.
CityRib was expected to change the atmosphere from an area known as the Southside into downtown Jamaica—where residents and visitors could stay, shop and enjoy a meal somewhere other than at one of the many fast-food joints that are clustered along Jamaica Avenue among the hair-supply shops.
The expectation was met in its early phase when CityRib was often full. During Happy Hour the bar buzzed with music, and its corn bread appetizer became famous.
Eateries like Don Nico’s, which serves Mexican cuisine with beer and liquor pairings, and Beijing Dumpling House, which serves handmade dumplings and noodles, joined CityRib in turning the transit hub into more than just a place to transfer to the next form of transportation.
“We really want this to become a restaurant row and restaurants such as Don Nico’s are a part of the process that connects those dots,” Rhonda Binda, executive director of the Jamaica Business Improvement District, said.
Binda, who joined JBID after the opening of CityRib, said it was important to continue bringing visitors and residents to the businesses in the major transit hub.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull