2017-05-19 / Front Page

New restaurant coming to Franklin Ave.

BY RIKKI N. MASSAND

A new restaurant moving into 990 Franklin Avenue recently gained municipal approvals by both the village’s Architectural Design Review Board (ADRB) and the Planning Commission, the latter less than a week after the Village Board of Trustees set a public hearing to approve zoning changes for the Seventh Street T-zone and make the strip more restaurant owner-friendly in terms of process to open in the district.

The new Franklin Avenue restaurant will be Perennial, a farm-to-table and fresh food initiative from a young couple, with culinary creations by Chef Peter Mistretta and local inspiration from a Long Island native, his wife Ashley. Their hope is for permits, construction and eventual setup to last throughout the next two months, with a grand opening later in summer. A few final approvals and permits from the village’s Building Department are in the works after ADRB and Planning Commission’s official reviews.

This week the Village Board kept an agenda with two public hearings for May 18, and each would alleviate longtime restrictions for the Seventh Street area. The second of two proposed amendments was aimed at easing the longtime parking space allotments required for each restaurant (based on the number of seats for patrons). But parking also came up for the Planning Commission’s review of Perennial, as a stretch more north on Franklin Avenue morphs into its own ‘culinary row’ in Garden City. The newest addition plans to bring the village the very best in Long Island-sourced food and bever- age.

Peter met Ashley, who grew up in Oceanside, through mutual friends in Manhattan a few years after they both had graduated from New York University in separate programs. Mistretta entered culinary school after NYU and worked at Manhattan restaurants. He eventually transitioned into catering and private events.

“My wife’s family is spread out throughout Nassau County and that is what brought me here. As I started spending more time on the Island I started to realize that there are incredible farms and products from Long Island as well as local wineries out east, which most people now have become familiar with in the tristate area,” he said in an interview with The Garden City News.

Perennial “stems” from a venture Peter Mistretta tried with de facto focus groups for his unique farm-to-table cuisine. He began catering private dinners around Nassau County about two years ago. The dinners ranged from cuisine for six people up to 24 people, cooked entirely by Chef Peter. He researched several websites with couples and families advertising their need for a professional chef to provide catering and private dinners. This led to the Mistrettas building a network on Long Island while Chef Peter bought, prepared and cooked meals for each private dinner.

“I was using and sourcing products from local markets and people really responded to it. I think people were blown away to have a dining experience with local products being cooked in the privacy of their own homes. When I told people I would start looking for potential restaurant sites in the area they would get quite excited and ask me questions. I got a great response from people all over Nassau County. This gave us the confidence to keep looking to open the restaurant, and it gave us credibility to be part of the community,” he said.

The Mistrettas began searching for a Garden City location to open their business in 2015. Finally the right spot came up last year. While a new restaurant website is planned, details about Perennial are available online at Chef Peter’s own website, chefpetermistretta.com. He uses the tagline “Market-driven cuisine in the heart of Long Island” and as a precursor to opening Perennial in the coming months, Garden City is listed as the base. Perennial is highlighted as a new member of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, and the couple attended the village’s marquee Pineapple Ball on Friday night, May 5.

“We were really excited when we came across space in Garden City and we are really eager to move forward. Ashley and I were really lucky to attend the Pineapple Ball. We had a great time meeting residents and other business owners in Garden City. We were able to chat with them, it was a lot of fun and we are really looking forward to being a part of this community. We fell in love in love with Garden City and not just the Franklin Avenue location, but the people and their sense of community,” Mistretta said.

On Chef Peter’s website he lists a dozen “Purveyors” that will supply produce, meats and seafood for Perennial. They include farms in Eastern Suffolk County, from East Moriches to Mattituck, plus growers in northern Nassau County in Glen Head and Brookville. One of his suppliers of poultry, duck and lamb is Browder’s Birds, a livestock farm on the North Fork. Another purveyor, 8 Hands Farm of Cutchogue, specializes in raising Icelandic sheep.

Municipal Process: ADRB then Planning Commission, Parking

As for the Village of Garden City’s municipal (building) approval process, Mistretta was encouraged by each of the recent meetings. The professionalism of the residents that volunteer on the ADRB and Planning Commission was evident as each review scrutinized his business’ local impact.

“The ADRB wanted to understand our outdoor design and what we intended to put – in terms of outdoor seating (facing Franklin Avenue) and how our awning would look in the space and next to the adjacent businesses. They also just wanted an understanding of the restaurant about the food we are looking to serve and the number of seats,” Mistretta said this week.

Similar review came up at the Planning Commission’s Wednesday May 10 meeting (held with just three members present) a review of Perennial’s floor plan and seating for 70 patrons gave a green light with a couple of minor suggestions to ensure ADA compliance and access from the entrance. Mistretta’s contractor for the kitchen, appliances and equipment is Michael Grosso of West Hempstead with Parrot Design Group, established in 1986 as a design-build-supply onestop shop.

The Commission was not told before their May 10 meeting that the ADRB had approved the application two weeks’ prior.

The architect and interior designer for Perennial is Semion Shkolnik of Brooklyn, and he presented to the Planning Commission at the May 10 meeting. He spoke about the convenience and neighboring stretch of restaurants with 300 feet of 990 Franklin Avenue. Shkolnik calls the parking fields behind the Franklin Avenue retail strip “the largest parking lots on Long Island” to drive home the point about the site providing ample parking. With the restaurant projected to seat 70 people, room for 35 parking spaces (half the number of seats) is the requirement per village code.

H. Bradford Gustavson, chairman of the village’s Planning Commission, told Perennial’s designers and Mistretta that while the parking lot size in Field 10W was definitely accommodating his board holds the task of making sure the handful of other restaurants immediately next to Perennial would not eventually create a clustered situation in the parking area. The hours of operation are the key to that aspect of municipal planning. Gustavson said the proposal satisfies the number of parking spaces necessary, but he asked about a parking count. He wanted to know if there was counting done of the number of parking spaces available at 5:30 p.m. versus 9:30 p.m. in that immediate location.

New Franklin Restaurant Row

Mistretta spoke about the neighboring businesses that close by 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., setting the stage for a small lineup of Franklin-facing dinnertime options that do align with Perennial’s proposed hours of 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Santander Bank sits at the northwest corner of the that block of Franklin Avenue, and the bank closes by 6 p.m. Out of the neighboring restaurant businesses My Three Sons Bagel Café is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends..

Perennial’s future immediate neighbor, Kinha Sushi and Japanese Fusion restaurant at 988 Franklin Avenue, is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and closing at 9:30 p.m. on Sundays. A few steps south, Cold Stone Creamery is open from noon to 10 p.m. and also to 11 on Fridays and Saturdays. Grimaldi’s Pizza at 980 Franklin Avenue is usually open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and until 11 on Friday and Saturday nights.

In an interview Mistretta called the Franklin Avenue lineup “a great block” and looked at the business perspectives.

“At the end of our block they are developing some office space and some retail on the ground floor. That lot was vacant there for close to a decade but recently they worked to fix it up and breathe new life into it. That is super-exciting to us, and we have met almost all our soon-to-be neighbors. Everyone is incredibly nice from Grimaldi’s and Kinha Sushi next to us. The deli/bagel place is a community hub. Everyone has been incredibly nice and we will all share this beautiful space. People come from all over to eat and drink at establishments there, and parking makes it super-accessible,” Mistretta says.

On May 10, Neal J. Sweeney of the Planning Commission asked Mistretta if lunch hours will be considered looking ahead. He replied that only weekend brunches and lunch hours have potential. “During the week we just want to focus on dinner hours,” he told the Commission.

Mistretta tells the News that weekend brunch is a great option to offer at the very opening of Perennial, allowing people to sample light cuisine including farm fresh eggs cooked to individual orders and having a lower price point established for brunch/lunch menus.

Perennial’s floor plans still presented unique notes for the Commission, as Gustavson looked at handicapped accessibility with the doors and entranceways and questioned the space presented, close to four or five feet, compared to a requisite seven feet. Assistant Superintendent of Giuseppe Giovanniello told Gustavson as the Building Department continues with the floor plan review “we will go through that process.” Shkolnik concurred with a re-check.

Gustavson also asked for the Commission to see sample floor plans so it can assess seating, access and where trash would be placed. No cold storage area for the kitchen’s trash will be needed; outdoor disposal will be used nightly. The basement of the restaurant will be used for storage. All food prep will be done in the kitchen.

Perennial is also applying to the Village of Garden City for a full liquor license.

“We will handle our cuisine with respect and keep an emphasis on Long Island farms and fisherman, including the great local beverage products. There’s a great boom in craft beers on Long Island happening right now and the wines from the east end are better than ever. At Perennial people can enjoy great pasta with a nice glass of Long Island wine, or they can have a more elaborate dinner out with family and friends. We will feature beverages on draft as well and offer them to people at a great price point. It is really about having great products, cooking them simply and making it accessible to people, and we want to offer a variety of experiences,” Mistretta said this week. He mentioned the potential for a great outdoor summer dining atmosphere with the restaurant’s scheduled opening.

Last Wednesday night Sweeney made the recommendation for the application to go to the Board of Trustees for approval, and Chairman Gustavson and Commission member Scott Brandewiede concurred. The item will be on a future Village Board agenda.

OTO Plans Incomplete?

As the Garden City Planning Commission’s May 10 meeting began, Neal J. Sweeney said that there was outstanding information from the December 14, 2016 discussion on the high-profile OTO Development/Simon Properties plan for a Residence Inn by Marriott on Ring Road. The issue was noted as the Commission reviewed its December 2016 minutes for approval. Commission Chair H. Bradford Gustavson told the recording secretary, a Building Department staffer, that there was information requested of OTO at that meeting and although the Commission had not met in the last five months the information also had not been provided to them. The specific item in question was

The Commission moved to accept its December minutes, approved with a 3-0 vote (only three Commission members attended the May 10 session.)

The Building Department has the supplemental material, submitted by OTO Development after the December 14, 2016 meeting, on file at Village Hall. The Commission was set to review that on May 10 once its review of Perennial for 990 Franklin Avenue was completed.

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