Today’s news:

Stop-work order hits First Edition successor

A new restaurant will occupy the space formerly filled by First Edition Bistro, a longtime Bayside bar and restaurant that closed down late last year after 61 years of business on Bell Boulevard.

Construction at First Edition’s former site, at 41-08 Bell Blvd. next to the Long Island Rail Road station, has been underway on a two-floor restaurant and bar, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Buildings said. But she could not specify what type of eatery would replace the bar and grill.

The general contractor for the building is Flushing’s Joong Ang Construction. But a woman who answered the phone at the office said she did not know what type of establishment would be built at the Bell Boulevard locale.

A stop-work order was issued May 17 at the location after scaffolding being used outside the site violated building codes, a DOB spokeswoman said. But the developer merely needed to remedy the situation before resuming construction, she said.

The project entails removing a wall within the building and replacing plumbing fixtures. The renovation was approved March 18, but a permit has not yet been issued to approve plumbing changes at the site.

First Edition, which had a dedicated local customer base, served food late into the night and often featured drink specials throughout the week.

Rick Ritacco, who co-owned the eatery with his brother, Robert Ritacco, and sister, Margie Mercado, said the restaurant had been founded in 1948 by his father, Angelo Ritacco, and grandfather, James Pascale. The eatery closed its doors permanently Dec. 7.

The bistro served hamburgers, pizza, wraps, pasta, salads, all-day breakfast and fish, but was best known for its hot wings. It had seven big-screen televisions and 70 smaller TVs, which drew sports fans to the bar to watch football, Yankees and Mets games.

Ritacco had said a decline in business amid the economic downturn led to the restaurant’s closure.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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