Nov. 10, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A new Greek restaurant is set to open on the prominent corner of 30th Avenue and 32nd Street in Astoria.
Nisi Mediterranean, a restaurant that will serve items such as imported fish and wine from Greece, will open next month at 32-01 30th Ave. – a two-story standalone building that has housed several different establishments over the last decade.
The new eatery, for instance, will replace Calexico, a California-style Mexican restaurant that closed over the summer having only opened in December. Other occupants of the space have included Burnside Biscuits, Salt and Bone Smokehouse and Athens Café.
The high turnover rate has led some Astorians to claim that the space is jinxed.
However, Lefteris Daskalopoulos, who co-owns Nisi Mediterranean with his business partner, said he is unfazed by the label and said he is very confident that their eatery will be a success at the spot.
“Some people think that the place is cursed, but we have faith that the Greek concept will work there,” said Daskalopoulos.
Daskalopoulos said that Astoria has a large Greek population and that the Greek-themed Athens Café was successful for many years at the space before shuttering in 2014. He said that there is a lack of Greek restaurants on 30th Avenue and the pair are looking to tap into a gap in the market.
“Astoria is connected with Greek food and we are bringing something back that we know people love,” said Daskalopoulos, who is from Greece and has lived in Astoria.
Nisi Mediterranean will offer fish dishes such as black seabass lavraki and tsipoura. Other items will include pork chops, lamb shank and grilled chicken ciabatta, while entrees like saganaki, grilled octopus and crab cake will also be on the menu.
The owners have applied for a liquor license and intend on offering wine and cocktails. Patch was first to report on the opening.
Daskalopoulos said the menu will mostly mimic that of the pair’s only other restaurant – also called Nisi Mediterranean – located on Long Island.
The pair established two restaurants in Manhattan that have both closed. One of those establishments opened in Times Square two months before the pandemic struck and was forced to shutter due to the first lockdown.
They hope to have better fortune with their Astoria operation, Daskalopoulos said.
Daskalopoulos said the new restaurant aims to replicate the ambiance of a Greek island. He said that the word “misi” means “island” in Greece.
Bright white paint has replaced the exterior black walls while new wooden floors have gone down inside. The indoor seating area will cater to around 110 people with the restaurant occupying the ground floor space only.
The current outdoor dining area, located along Newtown Avenue, will be extended with plans in place to create a second outdoor seating area along 30th Avenue, Daskalopoulos said.
He said that there will be around 200 seats available in total when all of the construction work is completed at the establishment.
Opening hours will be from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
This is big news because I’ve lived in Astoria all my life and for three decades I’ve been pleading for someone…anyone…to realize that what we need in Astoria is some kind of Greek or Mediterranean style cafe and/or restaurant. The nearest one to that location has to be at least 30 to 40 feet. Finally a place to get a slice of spanikopita….authentic style….or even a frappé. Or imagine being able to get some kind of chicken or pork on a stick and then possibly upgraded to a pita to make what is authentically called a souvlaki sandwich.
The dream is coming true.
The Ditmas area has had Greek restaurants for a very long time.
Glad to see a Greek restaurant coming back to this space. Athen’s Cafe has been missed. The space is not “cursed,” it’s just had businessses that were not a good fit with the area (and some had unusual schedules with a lot of closures). Best of luck to the new place!
Agreed – it’s about time that spot reverted to its roots. Looking back, before Athens Cafe there was Panorama, and before that, the long-term Greek anchor Gallini, man, that was a great spot. I wish Nisi well and will check it out as soon as it opens.