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Maria Loi Plans New Loi, Plus a Restaurant Downtown

As promised, Maria Loi is bringing back her eponymous Greek restaurant, and planning another one.

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Less than three months after closing her eponymous Upper West Side restaurant, Maria Loi is coming back. The "Martha Stewart of Greece,'' has two new restaurants on the horizon, in addition to her new book, The Greek Diet, from Harper Collins.

At the beginning of November, she plans to open a casual spot off Bleecker Street called Loi Taverna, which will have 70 seats plus a private room "It will be peasant Greek food,'' notes the chef/restaurateur, who says she will be cooking up a lot of produce-focused dishes such as white beans with vegetables, wheatberries, olive oil, and feta, and a risotto-style orzo made with Greek yogurt. Among the few carnivorous selections will be meat balls cooked in the oven for seven hours with caramelized tomatoes.

She also plans another more upscale Loi on the East Side, and reveals she is close to a deal on a space between 44th and 45th Streets, for early 2015. "It will have more of a focus on fish — grilled as well as baked — and we will import barbounie from the Mediterranean,'' says Loi.