After a brief eviction earlier this year, popular UWS Greek restaurant Kefi has now permanently closed its doors at 505 Columbus Ave., between West 84th and West 85th following just over 11 years in the neighborhood, West Side Rag reports. In a notice posted to Facebook, the restaurant claims that it is “merely moving locations” but does not provide any details about where the new location might be or when it’s set to open.
Update: In a statement, chef Michael Psilakis, who opened the restaurant in 2007, writes that Kefi will relocate to its original location at 222 West 79th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. That address currently houses Psilakis’ Fishtag, which he says is in the process of finding a new home as the space flips into Kefi.
It will close to make the changes next week. Psilakis also writes that he sold his interest in the Columbus Avenue location of Kefi in the fall of 2016 but maintained brand rights. With the new location, he’s relaunching Kefi on his own in a smaller space. “We will continue to offer beloved Kefi staples while also breathing new life into this fun and affordable traditional Greek concept,” he writes.
In 2009, Times critic Frank Bruni only gave the bi-level restaurant one star, but that didn’t seem to hurt Kefi’s reputation as an affordable neighborhood gem. The restaurant was known for its Greek wine list and cheap spreads, and it came with celeb chef cred, too. Iron Chef America chef Psilakis became one of the first celeb chefs to do Greek food in the city.
Kefi had some landlord drama earlier this year, when a city marshal’s notice went up on the restaurant declaring the property had been turned over to the landlord. The restaurant shuttered for a night as a result, and Psilakis tried to distance himself, claiming to no longer be a principal at Kefi even though his website still listed the restaurant. The relocation notice is posted to his website, too. At the time of the landlord dispute, a manager for Kefi said that Psilakis is still the executive chef.
The chef still owns MP Taverna in Astoria. A comment on the Facebook announcement alleges that the restaurant fired the whole staff with two days notice. Eater NY has also reached out for more information on these allegations.