BY LUIS GRONDA
A popular Rego Park restaurant is set to be converted into an apartment complex after closing last week.
Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant shut its doors this past Sunday after being a neighborhood staple for 65 years. Its owners, John and Marie Abbracciamento, are choosing to retire and leave behind the family-owned restaurant that first opened in 1953.
Back in January when they announced the restaurant’s closing, John said that he and his wife want to step back from the daily stress of running a restaurant every day and enjoy life while they still can. Their retirement had nothing to do with the establishment’s financial situation or any other factor, he added.
Rumors of the famous restaurant being converted to an apartment complex appear to be true. According to a filing listed at the Dept. of Buildings website, Criterion Group LLC., a real estate company based in Astoria, has applied to turn the Rego Park location into a seven-story, 120-unit apartment complex. The application was filed on March 3.
Ed Wendell, former president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, who would hold their annual dinner dance at the restaurant, said there was a comfort to seeing old places like Abbracciamento’s that were around for a long time and he would often brag to people about eating there.
“That’s another special thing gone,” he said “When you go to Joe Abbracciamento’s, you would always tell people the next few days, ‘do you know where I went to last night?’”
It is unclear what will happen to the remnants of the restaurant or when the new complex will be opened. Calls placed to Criterion Group were not returned as of press time.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.