May 4, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
The owner of a popular French bistro in East Elmhurst has opened a location in Astoria.
The new restaurant, called Chez Olivia, opened at 29-11 23rd Ave. Wednesday in a space that was previously occupied by The Yard Pizzeria. The new venue is owned by Vincent Caro, the proprietor of Bistro Eloise, which he established at 75-57 31st Ave. in 2018.
Caro also owned a French restaurant on Skillman Avenue called Côté Soleil but it closed in March 2020 during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Chez Olivia, Caro said, is offering typical French fare such as beef bourguignon, which is a type of beef stew, branzino served with vegetables and tarragon sauce and dry sea scallops with orzo and porcini sauce. The restaurant also has pizza, burgers, duck and veal on its menu.
The establishment serves homemade desserts such as lemon tart, mountain cake, peach melba and profiterole. There is also a full bar which includes a range of French beer, wine and cocktails.
Caro, who grew up in Brittany in northwest France, said business has been steady since opening despite little advertising.
He said it wasn’t his intention to open a second location but was prompted by the urging of his customers at Bistro Eloise.
“They kept asking me to open in Astoria and then I was offered the [23rd Avenue] space,” Caro said.
“I thought it was a great opportunity, it is in a good spot with a big backyard [patio] so God Forbid there is another lockdown I have that area [to keep operating in].”
Caro, who lives in East Elmhurst, took over the lease in December and has completely renovated the inside of the premises.
The narrow indoor dining area, which is around 600 square feet, has been painted in cream with a wooden baseboard and exposed ceiling beams.
Caro has installed several chandeliers, teal-colored seating and mirrors on the wall to give a similar style look to its sister premises. There is a large map of Paris on the wall and a painting featuring the Eiffel Tower.
Caro said there is room for around 30 people inside while there are two small tables at the front of the restaurant with four chairs.
The backyard patio area, Caro said, has also been repainted and a roof has been installed around its perimeter leaving a gap in the center for the sun to shine through during the warmer months.
He said he is happy to be open after a busy few months for his family, with his wife giving birth to their second daughter Olivia, whom the restaurant is named after. Bistro Eloise is named after their eldest daughter, Eloise.
“I am very excited, I have a good feeling about this space,” Caro said.
Opening hours are from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Chez Olivia is also open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch. The brunch menu features croque monsieur, sweet or savory crêpes or French toast.