April 14, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
An international food and beverage hall is slated to open in Astoria next month.
The World Artisan Market, which will feature eight restaurants, will be located inside a repurposed warehouse at 34-39 31st St. The food hall will house French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish restaurants.
The market was expected to open in 2018, but one of the partners in the initial development group backed out—causing a delay. A new investment group, EJ Stevens, took over the development.
Then the pandemic struck.
Some of the restaurants that were expected to be part of the market decided not to come—instead focusing on their existing locations. Others were constructing their space within the warehouse in 2019 but had to put their project on hold.
The market is now back on track and some of the restaurants will open in May, with the others coming in the summer.
The warehouse, which is 18,000 square feet, comes with high ceilings, open-floor plans, large storefronts and a large outdoor seating area.
“Given the pandemic, the larger size, high ceilings, new ventilation systems, and extra wide sidewalks and outdoor lot, have been great things in the new norm for restaurants to start fresh with,” said Steve Lysohir, President of Retail & Office Division at EJ Stevens.
Lysohir added that the firm has had discussions with the Department of Buildings about opening up roof space for restaurants in an open-air setting.
Among the establishments set to open by summer is Sotto la Luna, an authentic Italian restaurant that takes on influences from Milan and Puglia. The restaurant will include a Gelateria and cafe for dine-in and takeout.
A vegetarian bakery, called Elevenses, will also open—offering French, Greek and Scandinavian offerings.
Meanwhile, a traditional Spanish restaurant that will feature music and dancing, plus a tapas bar, is also set to open. The restaurant, called Sala, is described as offering “authentic Spanish food without pretense.” The wine list will consist exclusively of Spanish labels.
Residents who want to learn how to cook Japanese style will also be able to get classes at the market. The Yamato Noodle Company will open a cooking school on site and sell commercial equipment for preparing Japanese noodles, including Ramen, Udon and Soba.
Separately, an Asian fusion restaurant will open offering authentic Chinese cuisine, plus Japanese noodle and crepes. The eatery will be called Potlus Kitchen.
The World Artisan Market still has some restaurant spaces available, including one connected to its outdoor garden area which would provide interior and exterior seating.
“We are talking to various groups on these spaces but we are looking for the right fit that will create the perfect synergy with the other great concepts already involved,” Lysohir said.
A grand opening will take place once the venue is fully leased later in 2021.