Uncle George’s Greek Tavern, a beloved Astoria restaurant that specialized in rustic Mediterranean cooking, has closed its doors following a rent dispute.
The longtime establishment, at 33-19 Broadway, was seized by city marshals June 19, according to the city Marshal’s Office. The phone number for the popular restaurant, which reportedly opened in the late 1970s, was disconnected, and diners were left wondering what became of the popular eatery.
Taso Pardalis, an attorney for Uncle George’s owners, Ungs Food Services, said a new owner, Arvanitis Family LLC, recently purchased the building and filed claims alleging that the restaurant owed thousands in unpaid rent.
“It’s an alleged back debt of $55,000,” said Pardalis, of Pardalis & Nohavicka LLP. “Our client disputed that, and that was not proven. Things piled up, and it didn’t make sense for them to continue operation at this location.”
The Uncle George’s owners left the site early June, he said.
A spokesman for My New York Commercial Group, a real estate broker hired by Arvanitis Family LLC to lease the property, called the situation “a shame.” He said that unpaid taxes and debts led to the restaurant’s closing, but declined further comment.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), who frequented Uncle George’s often and recalled its delicious specialty of grilled meats and dishes, said he was disappointed to hear of the restaurant’s closing.
“When I was younger, I’d be out more frequently,” he said, noting he would visit the restaurant. “They had unique grilled meats. There was not a single person who was growing up who hadn’t been to Uncle George’s on a late night to enjoy Greek food. It’s a loss of a landmark.”
Asked if the restaurant, known for its tzatziki, barbecued pork and chicken and roasted leg of lamb, could reopen elsewhere, Pardalis said that is a possibility.
“They are considering that — that very well may happen,” he said. “It was a landmark in our neighborhood. It was there for a very long time. It’s a sad day in Astoria.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at cengelhard
©2013 Community News Group
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