By Mark Hallum
A solid closing date for Vivaldi Ristorante has been set, with a new eatery moving into the space overlooking Little Neck Bay and Throgs Neck Bridge. Vivo’s Mediterranean Grille will open in its place May 24 without any break in service for the public, a city Parks Department spokeswoman said.
The classic Italian restaurant currently operates out of a building at 201-10 Cross Island Parkway which is the former home of silent film actor Rudolph Valentino and former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who led the city through the Great Depression from 1934 to 1945.
The venue features an attractive atmosphere with views of the East River and the Clearview Golf Course.
Vivaldi is operating under a lease as a park concession, like the arrangement for Tavern on the Green in Manhattan and other restaurants on city land in the five boroughs.
According to Parks in 2016, when it was first announced the city agency and the restaurant would split, Vivaldi owners expressed concerns about their financial ability to maintain operations in the long term, despite the fact they were able to see increases in yearly revenue. The operators had also entered into multiple payment plans with the Parks Department. The owners ultimately decided to move on from the deal they had with the city agency and shutter the restaurant.
Vivaldi’s original licence agreement with Parks was scheduled to expire in 2025, but the city agency and 123 Restaurant Group, which operates Vivaldi, mutually decided to terminate early, according to a Parks spokeswoman.
But this will be the third time the venue has changed in the past decade, with few restaurants staying for more than a few years.
Vivaldi’s opened in 2013 after two short-lived eateries gave up the site. It followed on the heels of Patrizia’s of Bayside and Valentino’s on the Green.
The Parks Department attributed Patrizia’s closing to the poor economy at the time. There was optimism about Vivaldi in 2013 because of the company’s successful track record managing restaurants. Vivaldi would spend some time renovating
For many years, Caffe on the Green, a spot popular with elected officials and the general public, held court on the site, but it lost the concession in January 2009. It was operated by Joe Franco.
Another Bayside staple is changing hands with CJ Sullivan’s American Grill at 213-10 41st Ave. The owner Chris Sullivan sold te eatery to Bourbon Street owner Mark Boccia, according to a Sullivan’s employee, who did not know what would become of the beer joint and eatery after Boccia took control.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall