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Forest Hills' Old Vienna Cafe Turning Into Irish Gastropub

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | February 26, 2013 8:15am

QUEENS — A Forest Hills restaurant is trading in its apple strudel for Scotch eggs.

Old Vienna Café at 108-22 Queens Blvd. will soon be serving hard-to-find Irish dishes, including colcannon — a mix of mashed potatoes, onion and cabbage — which customers can wash down with a pint of Smithwick's.

“We don’t want to be a gimmicky Irish place,” said Michael Mansfield, 27, one of the owners of the restaurant. “The idea is to have a strong Irish-centric menu and feel.”

Old Vienna Café officially closed on Sunday, Mansfield said. He took over the space last year with his father, Paul, who also owns The Cuckoo’s Nest, an Irish sports bar in Woodside.

The new place will be called Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen, Mansfield said and he hopes it will open in early April.

The pub will focus on interaction and personal experience, Mansfield said. His goal is to have people come in and make conversation, in line with the name of the pub — Banter.

Mansfield said the venue will get new, modern décor and will be divided into a bar and a restaurant.

The menu is still being finalized but will include steak and Guinness pie.

The pub is also going to serve a variety of craft beers and Irish suds, as well as Magners Irish cider.

Mansfield said that every Sunday the pub will hold an Irish seisiun, which is an informal gathering at which people play traditional Irish music.

There are also two other gastropubs coming to the area.

Forest Hills Station House at 106-11 71st Ave. is slated to kick off before St. Patrick’s Day, and The Flying Pig at 70-28 Austin St. is planning to open around mid-April.