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European Food Importer Will Replace Closed Village Diner

By Andrea Swalec | September 4, 2013 7:30am
 An imported food store called Gunz will replace the classic diner in September 2013, the owner of the incoming business said.
University Diner to Be Replaced by European Grocery
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GREENWICH VILLAGE — From early-bird specials to European imports.

Almost a year after the closure of the classic diner University Restaurant, an Austrian corporation will open a specialty food shop in its place later this month, the owner of the incoming business said Tuesday.

Gunz Fine European Food will sell cookies, snacks and other fine foods imported from across Europe, Daniel Gunz said.

"It will be everything from Belgian chocolate to Spanish cakes to Italian olive oil," the scion of the family-owned company said as he stocked shelves Tuesday afternoon, behind windows covered with brown paper.

University Restaurant closed in September 2012 after 60 years of serving up burgers and omelets at 101 University Place at East 12th Street. Workers told DNAinfo New York that a rent hike was to blame.

Heartbroken patrons signed a "save our neighborhood diner" petition that was taped to the restaurant's window, asking realtor Sutton Garrett Realty Associates to lease only to similar, affordable eateries.

Rumors about an "international cookie place" moving to the location circulated earlier this summer. Contacted in August, a broker at Sutton Garrett declined to discuss the deal for the 1,550-square-foot space.

Gunz, which plans to open as early as this weekend, will have a "good average between quality and price," Daniel Gunz said about the company's first U.S. location.

Based in Mäder, Austria, Gunz ships packaged foods to 80 countries, and in 2012 boasted revenue of more than $116 million, according to its website.

Gunz plans to open additional shops in Manhattan, said Daniel Gunz, a newcomer to Chelsea.