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The White House restaurant is closing at the end of the year after more than two decades of serving moderately priced American cuisine to the people of Whitestone and surrounding communities, but the departure is more sweet than sorrow.
Its longtime principal owner, Matty Geoghegan, is officially retiring at the end of the month, and so concluding his 21-year “great run” as one of the landmark institution’s proprietors.
The location at 10-24 154th St. is slated to be filled sometime next year with a grand new eatery, as Joe Franco, former proprietor of the now-defunct Caffé on the Green Ristorante Italiano in Bayside, has plans to open a new restaurant there, according to Geoghegan, who owns the White House along with Ellen Simken.
“It’s been a privilege serving this community and we’re leaving with many, many treasured memories,” Geoghegan said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed many special family moments, from weddings to showers to christenings to special birthdays to retirements, and we’re glad we’re finally retiring.”
Franco declined to comment through an associate, who said it was too soon to disclose his plans because the new restaurant will not be opening for a while. But the website for Caffé on the Green has a posting from April that reads, “Great news. We are pleased to announce Caffe on the Green Restaurant & Caterers has found a new home. We will be located just 1 mile from our prior location in Bayside [in] Whitestone, NY. Joe Franco and his staff are excited to announce our future plans and we are looking forward to serving you again.”
The sale to Franco will be a fine one for the people of Whitestone, Geoghegan said, because it will allow the venue to endure as a top-notch dining space.
“We’re glad we sold it to him because he’s well-known within the Whitestone community, and we believe he’ll be successful and continue to serve Whitestone the way we did,” Geoghegan said.
And Geoghegan said he can dedicate himself to a pastime he has found he is pretty good at: not working.
“I live in Flushing so I’m going to keep the house up here but spend more time at the apartment in Florida,” he said. “It’s finally time for me to become an official snowbird.”
The White House is hosting its “Last Hurrah” farewell party New Year’s Eve. There is limited 7 p.m. dinner seating available for $30 per person, and an even more limited number of spaces available for a party that night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at $60 a head.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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