Restaurants
Nov 10, 2014

Athens Cafe Closed and Rumors of More Pizza in Astoria

Athens Cafe in its heyday. Not even this summer’s World Cup and visit by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog could save Athens Cafe (32-07 30th Ave). Apparently, it’s been sold (…)

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Photo credit: Athens Cafe

Athens Cafe in its heyday.

Not even this summer’s World Cup and visit by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog could save Athens Cafe (32-07 30th Ave). Apparently, it’s been sold and is now closed, its windows papered up. The rumor is, according to the folks at Eliniki Grocery across the street, that a pizza spot is going in its place—as if we need more pizza (yes, the saturation point is just about here).

Athens Cafe was really the number one place to watch the World Cup while rooting for the Greeks. It has been a mainstay in the neighborhood for over 15 years (though management changes) and was always a reminder of the Greek presence in Astoria. We are sorry to see it go, and see this as more evidence that Astoria really is changing.

Thanks to @redtamara and @JnAdms for letting us know about the closing and additional rumored details. If you know anything else about the fate of this location, please shoot us an email!

UPDATE, evening of 11/10/14: Twitter tells us Bareburger is involved. So no pizza, whew.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

18 Comments

Ruth

Outside this restaurant a scene from the serie OITNB from Netflix. Season 3 episode 3 episode

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Richie M

This is Fucking Horrible I Agree with Nick B. I Have Lived All My 32 Years in Astoria and for the Most Part in the Same House . It is Truly Killing Me what is Happening with Astoria.It is Not a Neighborhood any more every single House that goes up for Sale gets Bulldozed and Up goes Another Fucking Condo . Hell Right behind My House There is a Parking Lot that has been there since I was born Has also Just got Bought Out and there going to build a huge High Rise Condo . Im so Pissed about this Because it Blocks My View of the Train Which My Son Loves to watch .and Just Like Nick B says its not that Astoria is close to the City that put it on the Map . The Reason that Astoria is so Great …. is the Fact of How Euro it was . You Had Greek and Italian Cafes the way they were over in Europe . We had Amazing Euro style Restaurants There where just things you couldn’t find anywhere else Over Here and Now Slowly but Surely there all just disappearing its Fucking Heart Breaking . I Mean Hell I Like Change Just Not Change that takes the Whole Charm of a town . The Next Thing is Astoria is Becoming the Next Chelsea with all the Hipsters Moving in and Opening Up Places that are cookie cutter copies of whats in the City and with City Prices this is a Blue Collar Town. People aren’t Loaded and its Crazy the prices of Some of the Stuff You goto a Greek Restaurant and what coasts 20 bucks coasts like 45 in these New Places its Fucking Disgusting…………….. There Goes The Neighborhood =(

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Jj

@john Can we stop segregating everyone into groups. The “Greeks” vs “hipsters” etc. ?
People are people. You act as though Astoria was the leader of some cutting edge technology – outdoor cafés.

I own in Astoria and like the outdoor cafés, the European cafés, the melting pot of food and the new younger places that you may call “hipster.” Astoria is diverse. That’s what’s so great about it.

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Brandon

Agreed. Gotta love all the people who act like they appreciate New York for its diversity but then whine when things change or new demographics move into an area, like they’ve been doing every generation since the Industrial Revolution.

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Lem

I work at Elliniki Agora grocery across the street, and someone did tell us it was going to become a pizza place. We just found out last night by word of mouth that the head honchos behind Bareburger purchased the property. Great, as if we needed another burger place in the area. We have Burger Club on the corner, and their burgers (among other foods) are AMAZING.

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megc

Thanks, Lem. Maybe it will be “BarePizza”? Who knows. Agreed that burgers would be redundant, what with Burger Club across the street and the availability of the great burger at Sweet Afton. And the original Bareburger a block or so away. Thanks to you and the others reminding me about Burger Club – I haven’t been in a while and need to go back and enjoy.

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John

Very sad day. The Greeks were the first to bring their outdoor cafe lifestyle in this part of town. They brought a little piece of Athens and the European lifestyle with their bakeries, churches, taverns,etc… There weren’t any sidewalk tables in Astoria before unless you count French/Italian bistros in the city. Athens was one of the first to put outdoor seating. The Greeks and Italians put Astoria on the map.

@ABC go move to Williamsburg or any other hipster neighborhood if you don’t like it. If you lived in Jackson Heights I bet you would be critical of the Colombians and Ecuadorians.

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mlove

John, this is not a sad day. I’m sure the next place will utilize outdoor seating.

The close proximity to Manhattan has helped put Astoria on the map not the Italians and Greeks. Remember, there are a lot of other people from a lot of different places living in Astoria, which is what makes it special – including “hipsters.”

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Nick B

And I really hope you don’t live in Astoria with that thinking, because that would be devastating to someone like me who has grown up in Astoria that has an actual understanding of its history and identity.

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Jj

Agree mlove and Nick B , why so much negativity? Mlove simply appears to be giving a nod to diversity. What is mlove mistaken about?

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Nick B

Jj, anyone that knows me can vouch that I’m for change… But you can’t write off the older generations who migrated here years ago, built their lives from the ground up; and say they haven’t helped “put Astoria on the map”. They are the ones that gave Astoria a name and its identity.

Close proximity is a major factor in any neighboring area to Manhattan, that’s a given (and that’s real estate talk).

The authenticity of the older ethnic (mainly Greek) music venues, traditional cafe and restaurants is how Astoria was marketed and drew most interest.

I personally believe the influx of new culture will benefit people who have been well invested in Astoria for the past 30+ years; what disappoints me is when I see a local shop that I’ve supported for the past 20 years close up shop and become a food chain.

Lastly, I’ve seen Astoria transforming for the past 5-8 years so this shouldn’t really shock anyone.

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Jj

Naw, Astoria was marketed as low rent with close proximity to manhattan. That’s why most people moved here in the past. Now it’s actually starting to get even better plus it has that nice neighborhood vibe. And yes it has lots/plenty of nice Greek cafés which is why it’s ok Athens is closed. One could say that Steinway & Sons gave even more identity to Astoria than the Greeks or Italians. Or perhaps Kaufman Astoria studios. Bottom line is neighborhoods in NYC are constantly changing.

Agree, don’t like food chains. But it’s interesting that you make fun of Williamsburg and hipsters. Williamsburg loathes food chains or the main stream and loves local artisan businesses. In fact a lot of amazing local shops owned by young smart people have Dione very we’ll there. Maybe your perception of Williamsburg is completely incorrect.

I for one hope a few “hipsters” move in with some architectural taste to help some of the ugliness that has been built around here. http://astoriaugly.tumblr.com

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Nick B

Jj, funny as I have not mentioned Williamsburg or hipsters in any of my posts… If you want to talk Architecture I can do that.. Yes we have some new trendy interior-designed restaurants and bars now but I assure you the type of Architecture you’ll be seeing in Astoria years to come will be that of Rockrose-eque Developers ($$$). All and all, I agree with alot of what you’re saying. Pardon me for being a little hostile about a neighborhood I’ve lived my entire life in.

But http://astoriaugly.tumblr.com/…. really? I can go around to any neighborhood and snap some photos of unpleasant areas. lol

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Midge

sad to hear this. One of the reasons i love Astoria is all the random reenactment of old Europe

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