Williston Park’s restaurant row has one less member: Taverna 38, the Greek eatery at 38 Hillside Ave., has closed.
Business had slowed too much in the cold winter months for owners John Alexopoulos and Claudio Peralta to sustain their moderately priced restaurant at the former home of The Ivy Cottage, Alexopoulos said.
“We were two familiy guys that we gave it a shot and it didn’t work,” Alexopoulos said Monday.
Alexopoulos and Peralta, who worked together at the Manhattan restaurant Picholine, opened shop in November 2015 with Xarello, a more upscale Mediterranean restaurant using locally sourced ingredients.
But the prices proved too high to draw many Williston Park customers, prompting the partners to change their restaurant’s name, decor and concept and reopen in May 2016, Alexopoulos said.
Taverna 38 served lunch and dinner with a menu that featured traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes such as mousaka, spanakopita, gyros and paella, with dinner entrees costing no more than $30.
The name change helped business while the weather was warm, but “winter wasn’t good to us,” said Alexopoulous, who has worked in restaurants since 1993.
Taverna 38 drew an “excellent” rating from The New York Times, which praised the service and called the food “delicious and beautifully presented” in a July 2016 review.
It offered a unique option in Williston Park, an area with few Greek restaurants, said Lucille Walters, president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Willistons.
“Everybody I know who’s gone in there — the food is good, the service is great, they enjoyed everything,” Walters said.
Alexopoulos and Peralta said in 2015 said they fell in love with Williston Park after hearing about The Ivy Cottage shutting its doors.
They were the second tenants of the Hillside Avenue space since The Ivy Cottage closed in 2012 after 14 years in business. Madison’s on Hillside, Taverna 38’s predecessor, closed in 2013 after less than a year in business.
Walters said she was surprised to hear about Taverna 38 closing, but she thinks another restaurant could fill its shoes in the small, manageable space.
As for whether he and Peralta will try another restaurant venture together, Alexopoulos said it’s “too early to tell.”