Katerina Ristorante serves final meal in Great Neck

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After a  seven-month stay on the Great Neck peninsula, Katerina Ristorante, an authentic Italian restaurant, closed its doors last week.
Cary Rosner, a partner in the operation, confirmed that the restaurant, which was located at 20 South Station Plaza in Great Neck Plaza, officially closed last week but declined to comment further.
“The town itself did the best it could to support us,” Rosner told Newsday. “But we weren’t drawing enough people from other communities to make a go of it.”
Katerina Ristorante opened on March 25 under the management of Rosner, Tony Cerra, a Manhattan restaurateur, and Cerra’s daughter, Kathy.
The future seemed bright for the restaurant, which imported some of its products once a week to John F. Kennedy International Airport from Italy.
The New York Times gave Katerina Ristorante a “Very Good” rating in its review, the second highest of five ratings that the newspaper offers. Newsday gave the restaurant two and a half stars out of four.
Jay Corn, vice president of the Great Neck Plaza Business Improvement District, said he was “disappointed” that the restaurant closed after such a short time.
“As an officer on the BID board, I’m always disappointed when I see a business fail in town. This is no exception,” Corn said. “It was an unpleasant surprise really because this was an owner that had a track record with other restaurants.”
For a restaurant to be successful, he said, it takes efforts from local elected officials, the surrounding community and the business owners themselves.
“The BID can only do so much. Sometimes the BID is a support system for the merchants that is paid for by the taxes of the commercial properties,” Corn said. “But it is not the do all and end all. The merchants still own an independent business.”
“On top of what the BID does to bring people in, they have to do their own promoting and advertising,” he added.
Corn said that businesses in Great Neck, not specifically Katerina Ristorante, fail to take advantage of the BID’s efforts to increase street traffic.
 Sunday’s AutoFest and Street Festival, he said, brought a large number of visitors from out of town, but few merchants were even open during the street festival.
“If they don’t take advantage of what the BID does to bring them to the door and they don’t want to be there to welcome them, that’s about all we can do,” Corn said.
He said he has been to other street festivals that are filled with merchants in the community offering  promotions and deals for their products and services.
For example, Corn said, Sea Cliff, which he said is a “small town,” had a large number of store owners on the streets handing out promotions and advertising for their businesses.
“There’s an apathy here that I don’t see in other towns,” he said.  
Efforts to reach Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender for comment on Katerina Ristorante’s closing were unavailing.

By Joe Nikic

1 COMMENT

  1. […] Last April, a new Italian restaurant opened in South Station Plaza called Katerina. It even got a “Very Good” review from the New York Times. I had the pleasure of going there twice, and both times I was astounded at my experience. The ingredients were shipped in fresh from Italy once a week. The service was top notch. The food was outstanding. The decor was great. And yet when I went back for a third time, I was shocked to find they had closed their doors. […]

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