Michael Psilakis coming to Astoria? (And other changes along Ditmars Blvd.)
by Adam Kuban
Some quick observations on upcoming and outgoing food options near Ditmars Boulevard–31st Street in Astoria …
From Mezzo Mezzo to … Michael Psilakis?
That’s the word on Astorians, where the speculation is that the defunct Mezzo Mezzo will become a second location of Michael Psilakis’s MP Taverna (the original is in Roslyn, a short way away on Long Island).
This makes some sense. The bilevel space is enormous, stretching all the way back to where the blue plywood ends. Seems like it would take someone with a proven track record and a name to hit the ground running here and do the kind of business that would cover the rent.
UPDATE: And now it’s confirmed. Psilakis is opening in this space.
It’s moving into the old St. Honore bakery space near the corner of 35th Street. Grub Street brought word earlier this year that it was set to open February 15. Well, obvs, that’s come and gone. Peeking through the plywood, I can see the interior looks most of the way there. There’s a long bank of counter seating on the left of the space and plenty of room for tables on the right.
The guys behind it seem to be more into Asian-fusion “concept” restaurants and are bringing in a “consulting chef from Japan.” I was hoping it was a labor of love by some secret Japanese ramen master who happened to live in Astoria (the neighborhood has a large Japanese population), but even if it’s only as good as Sapporo in Times Square, I’d be happy. It’ll be something new, and at least it’s not another Thai joint or forgettable sushi spot. 33–18 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY 11105
Unknown venture at 31-13 Ditmars
The former halal deli in this space has been vacant for a while now. A few weeks ago, new glass went up, covered by butcher paper. The paper was down the other night, and it looks like it’s going to be some sort of food-related venture.
Flat-screen TVs on both east and west walls would normally suggest sports bar. But they’re small, and the interior looks like it has a griddle in the back, and I think what I saw in there was a baker’s rack.
I’m guessing it’s going to be some sort of deli/coffee shop/bakery/cafe. Not quite a diner, but maybe a place you could grab a muffin, a breakfast sandwich. Come to think of it, there’s not really any place like that in this area, so it might be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, but that prospect is not as exciting as some of the stuff happening down on 30th Avenue or Broadway.
Francis Cafe & Patisserie Pistache, 35th & Ditmars
This place has seemingly been finished and ready to go since the first week of January but has not yet opened. It replaces the former 718 restaurant, also a French joint. Patisserie Pistache takes the place of the little doomed space on 35th Street proper, which was most recently Mally’s Shoes and before that some sort of little Southeast Asian video store. There’s been no activity on the Francis Cafe Facebook page since January 5. Maybe they’re waiting to finish the patisserie before opening? Let’s hope it’s soon. My wife and I could use another brunch option in the area.
Watawa, the popular sushi place between 33rd and 35th streets, remains closed for renovations. Typically “closed for renovations” is just a euphemism for doneski, but here they’re merging with the next-door space, which has been under construction for a year or more. I sorta figured Watawa would be back open by this point. It’s been under plywood since late January. 33-10 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY 11105
Astoria’s Finest Bagels
With four bagelries on Ditmars, how long would it be before one of them fell? Last in, first out, I guess. Astoria’s Finest Bagels closed this weekend. There’s a marshal’s notice in the window that the place has been seized. 33-06 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria NY 11105