July 24, 2011 By Christian Murray
Construction is underway at 45-20 Skillman Avenue on a restaurant that will replace the shuttered Bliss Bistro.
Owner of the property Dorothy Morehead confirms that two new partners have rented the spot and are planning to open an elegant but friendly eatery there.
Despite the door being on the Skillman Avenue side temporarily, the “egress” will not change from the diagonal, according to posted building permits.
“They are going to add more windows to the exterior to increase the light and airiness,” Morehead reports. “I believe there will be French doors all around.” She has to remain mum on the subject of the coming proprietors, she says, because at present they have other affiliations.
Morehead said she believes opening will not be until fall, possibly September. She noted that the partners have roots in the community and want to operate a spot which she believes everyone will appreciate.
Michael O’Herlihy, a local resident who lives across the street on 46th, said, “I am looking forward to the opening. I love Quaint and Saffron Garden, but another good restaurant here will give us who live close by another choice.”
I hope the sprucing up will be contagious and caught by the rest of that block of Skillman! 🙂
I hope they can stay busy. I wonder how Quaint does during the winter and I suspect that the bar activity may be what keeps them going. They cannot all be doing bang up business 12 months a year. Not with this economy and this area.
Roxy – Oh HOW I miss Floresta! While it was a steal by Manhattan standards, I have to admit by Sunnyside South standards prices were steep. I think they would have done better in the North side.
I also noticed a new lounge/restaurant coming to the old Cafe Ra space? Anyone know anything about that?
A new eatery called Sunrise Restaurant & Grill is getting ready to open on Greenpoint Avenue on the site formerly occupied by Floresta (across from Thalia Spanish Theatre). Gossip says menu will be “American diner,” but I haven’t been able to verify that.
My point is the neighborhood needs better restaurants, not just more restaurants. Those who can’t afford to go out aren’t eating at any restaurants anyway. Bland Thai/Indian/cookie cutter restaurants have problems generating traffic and after initial interest will shutter soon afterward. This does little for the neighborhood anyway when there is little discernable taste difference between the sitdown and takeouts.
TJ Bistro does fine. Quaint does fine with a menu the size of an index card. Chips was pretty good but they seemed to have changed chefs. These aren’t extraordinary expensive restaurants. the lack of genuinely good restaurants just means more takeout business or more folks grabbing a bite before heading home from Manhattan or going out to the city.
Anyway, I hope something nice pops up in this new place. It’d be a welcome addition at least for me. =)
I enjoy going out to eat. But I can’t do it seven days a week so that my favorite restaurants can stay busy! And I certainly cannot take the family seven days a week!
I think Raquel’s point is important to understand. While no restaurant in the neighborhood may be cost prohibitive *to you*, there are many people in the neighborhood for whom *all* or *most* restaurants in the neighborhood are cost prohibitive.
“In order for them to be sustained – and make a profit – they would have to have a large clientele and I don’t see that happening. The neighborhood remains very mixed, economically.”
I disagree. While the general area of Sunnyside may still be economically “diverse” there is enough demand to sustain certain (good) restaurants. There are plenty of people who would rather eat and go out locally. No restaurants in the neighborhood (northside and QB) are really cost prohibitive. Obviously location and a semi decently appointed décor are important, but the bottom line is the food must be good. How else would you attract and keep this clientele/following that’s needed?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone tried out Sunnyside restaurants once and never returned because the food just wasn’t that good. Not surprisingly, a few of them shut down or changed management.
Restaurants have “slow” seasons. I know that one place that I like, which usually does well in the summer, is struggling now. Part of the problem is the economy plus the latest “trendy” restaurants. We could use a shoe store and a decent clothing store in this neighborhood.
In order for them to be sustained – and make a profit – they would have to have a large clientele and I don’t see that happening. The neighborhood remains very mixed, economically.
Sadly, I think there are actually a dearth of good restaurants – although this is starting to turn around.
Alot of restaurants – yes. Good restaurants – no. I would gladly support any new decent restaurants in Sunnyside, as would many residents similar to my own profile (younger professionals) have moved here for the convenience to the city but would love to have a diverse, thriving community as well.
And upscale restaurants (that are good) can absolutely be sustained in this neighborhood.
Note: Building owner Dorothy Morehead said today that the opening may be as early as September.
I am sorry that The Rose is gone – I heard that the rent had been jacked up.
Southie, I think you have nailed it. And I worry about some of the old favorites.
I don’t think there are too many new businesses, but I do think there are too many restaurants and take out places. There is only so much food the neighborhood can consume. Sunnyside is not a destination. If we wish to become a destination, we will have to offer up more than restaurants and bars. I really wish we had more organizations like the Thalia Theater in the neighborhood.
It just seems that in one breath, everyone proclaims the end of the world and death to landlords when a store closes. Then in the next breath, people are complaining that there are too many new businesses, they’re too trendy, that Queens is the next Brooklyn, Sunnyside the next Park Slope. Sunnysiders—especially fatties like myself—gotta eat! Wouldn’t you rather they do it here?
I think we need more help in our area to market our business in general and also our restaruants in our entire town. We have plenty of businesss we maybe having trouble keeping track of them. We have our favoiites and short walk and long walks.
We also need to bring in busines from outside our town to get our town more buisness both stores and rest.
I have been saying for a while that we need more markting help in our town . Shortly I will proide some answers to my puzzle. Stay tuned.
I agree with Lilly and Krissi. Takeout joints and restaurants serve entirely different needs. One thing Sunnyside definitely has enough of is take out places and on the other hand, NOT ENOUGH restaurants.
Let’s see who lasts more than a couple of years . . .
I would consider the neighbodhood pretty mixed and diverse economically, and I’m from the lowly southside! I am lucky enough to be able to go out to a nice dinner once or twice a week and am stoked that Sunnyside and Woodside offer more diverse options than just take out! The owner of Bliss Bistro and Basmati Table over extended himself it seems.. Salt and Fat is always packed whenever I go, and there’s usually a crowd at Quaint and Claret. Saffron Garden/TJ’s Asian Bistro/Aubergine, etc etc all seem to have good followings too.
I don’t think there’s a lack of people interested in these more upscale offerings…. but I do think rents in the neighborhood can be pretty prohibitive.
What I am saying is that this is not a wealthy area – I see lots of people with food stamps in the supermarket. These trendy restaurants need a ton of business just to break even.
Dante, you are right and so is Rocky. I believe that one of my favorite restaurants on Skillman is going to close and their food is good and inexpensive. This is not a wealthy area. There are to many high priced restaurants. Look what happened to the Bliss Bistro a few months ago and Basmati Table.
When the national economy takes an endless nose dive, it’s the people who have to tighten their belts and avoid things like eating out – hence the restaurants are among the first to suffer. The good folks in Washington do just the opposite. The worse things get, the more or our money they toss around and leave the bill to American citizens who haven’t even yet been born.
In any case, that stretch of Skillman is very nice and would thrive if and when this country ever returns to fiscal sanity.
Rocky, I was responding to Raquel’s assertion that there are too many restaurants on Skillman. More restaurants in Sunnyside means more residents will eat locally instead of venturing into the city—how is that a bad thing? And take-out restaurants serve a different need than dine-in; they can coexist. The only competition is that they both serve food.
Lily, the take out places suffer when the “new craze” comes along. How many nights a week can one dine at the Bliss Bistro in order for them to stay in business? This is Sunnyside – it is not Hells Kitchen near the theater district. Some owners have told me that their business is way down and that they will not stay open much longer. Now that is really sad.
Sunnyside defintitely needs more restauraunts.
I miss my Bliss Bistro!!!! But I’m happy to hear something new is coming.. I have to admit I have some high expectations.
Too many restaurants? What’s wrong with Skillman becoming our own restaurant row? If these “good takeout places” truly are good, they won’t have any trouble staying in business.
Good luck. However, I believe there are too many restaurants on Skillman and they are hurting some of the good takeout places.
I didn’t realize that place had closed. I’m not over that way too often. My wife and I ate dinner there on New Years Eve, and other than people a few tables over taking pictures of each others food with the flashes on their cameras on (who does that?), we had a great time.