Tim Sullivan knew that when he and his six business partners decided to buy and transform a Glendale staple into a new hotspot for food and drinks, he had big shoes to fill — but with the right amount of creativity and experience, their restaurant is making a big splash in the neighborhood.
Sullivan, 29, who manages Edison Place, at 71-28 Cooper Ave., said he and his group decided to change the business that was once Von Westernhagen into a contemporary American eatery not only because it reflected the change in demographics in the area, but also because they wanted to bring customers from other parts of the borough.
Although the German restaurant had been around for more then 40 years, Sullivan said its former patrons welcomed Edison Place when it opened in March.
“People have told us that the place needed something like this,” he said.
Sullivan credited the early success of the restaurant to the years of experience that he and his partners brought to the table. Eddie and Jim Long, who are co-managers of the eatery, and their brother Matt, who is one of the business partners, are the latest generation of a family of restaurant owners.
Matt and Jim Long opened up the Murray Hill bar Third & Long 20 years ago and their father ran several bars in Queens and Brooklyn, according to Sullivan, who worked at Third & Long. Fellow manager Gus Lodato also has a familial experience with the industry, as his uncle used to own Douglaston Manor, Sullivan said.
The team spared no expense in making Edison Place stand out. The inside of the restaurant was given a taller ceiling, new paint and flooring and a wall was removed to allow easier access to the bar.
Sullivan said they decided to give the inside a comfortable, worn feeling with old-style tables, furnished wood and simple lighting to make the customer feel like they were coming home.
“We want to make them see that this is not their usual restaurant and different from the things you’d find in Long Island City and Astoria,” he said.
The drinks menu contains both big name domestic choices such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, but also microbrewery brands from breweries on Long Island and in upstate New York.
“These are new and exciting beers and when people come out they’re always asking for them,” he said.
Edison’s lunch menu has been a huge draw since its opening in March, according to the co-manager. For just $12, customers can get a sandwich with a topping of the day that is decided by the chef, a cup of soup and a coffee.
For those with a bigger appetite, they can choose the Edison Burger that is so big it needs to be cut down twice.
Sullivan said longtime chef Russell Titland, who used to cook at the Waldorf-Astoria, created the restaurant’s dinner menu and he brought new flavor to old dishes. The most popular entree is the crispy pork shank.
“It’s one of those dishes that when it comes out, everyone turns their heads and they’re like, ‘Wow, what’s that?’” Sullivan said.
Word of mouth has been good so far for the restaurant and Sullivan said he and his team are looking to expand the menu with new items, including brunch in the fall, according to the co-manager. Sullivan said the restaurant’s achievement would continue by catering to the community’s tastes.
“I think in the restaurant business you have to take it one table at a time,” he said. “We hope to carry the success that was here for Westernhagen.”
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@c
©2011 Community News Group
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