ASTORIA — A new bar and cafe will open on Ditmars Boulevard specializing in wine from local and family-owned wineries, according to its owner.
Vintage is expected to debut next week at 23-14 Ditmars Blvd. at the corner of 24th Street, in the storefront once occupied by Waltz-Astoria, a popular performance space that closed in 2014. It most recently housed a crepe eatery.
Owner Paul Serelis says Vintage will serve savory sandwiches, salads and small plates to share family-style, alongside craft beers and wine sourced from small-scale New York wineries.
"We're going with a kind of relaxed atmosphere, not really pretentious or snooty — wine kind of goes that way sometimes," he said.
Customers can expect to see brands like Ravines Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes or Wölffer Estate Vineyards from Eastern Long Island, and beers from Astoria's SingleCut Beersmiths and Bronx Brewery, though drink selections will rotate often.
"I'm trying to keep to everything as local as possible," said Serelis, noting that even the soap in the restaurant's bathroom will come from a soap shop in the neighborhood, while coffee will come from For Five Coffee Roasters in Maspeth.
Vintage is expected to open next week at 23-14 Ditmars Blvd. at the corner of 24th Street, in the storefront once occupied by Waltz-Astoria. (Photo: Zachary Ranes)
For food, Vintage will start with a limited menu of sandwiches and salads. Dishes will include a croque madame with bechamel sauce, a French dip made with slow-cooked short ribs or a portobello mushroom banh mi with homemade carrot sriracha.
"Trying to make them a little bit better than your standard sandwiches," he said. "I'm just trying to do really good home-cooking."
The menu will slowly expand to include small plates that customers can share, including candied bacon and stuffed artichokes.
Though this is his first time as a restaurant owner, Serelis is not a newcomer to the Queens restaurant scene: growing up, his family owned the The Gable Inn, a longtime restaurant in Bayside.
He more recently worked as the manager at Christos Steakhouse in Astoria, and says he once lived just blocks from Vintage and hung out at the bars and restaurants nearby.
"I knew this area well," he said, adding that he also hopes to host live music, storytelling events and other performances like the space's predecessor Waltz-Astoria.
"I've already got the feelers out to try and get acoustic bands in," he said.