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Francisco's Centro Vasco to Reopen After Owner Has Change of Heart

By Maya Rajamani | August 2, 2017 4:04pm
 Francisco's Centro Vasco at 159 W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
Francisco's Centro Vasco at 159 W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

CHELSEA — The owner of a decades-old Spanish seafood restaurant that shuttered just last week has changed his mind about closing — deciding it would be a “disservice” to longtime patrons.

Francisco’s Centro Vasco, which closed on July 24, will reopen next week, owner Javier Quintans told DNAinfo New York on Wednesday.

Quintans had planned to sell the eatery at 159 W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues, and the building that houses it, but had second thoughts after hearing from disappointed customers and discussing the matter with family members and workers.

“I spoke with one of the employees I had, and we decided that we should just continue, because not only is it a disservice to the people that like our unique food, [but] a lot of jobs are here,” he said. “I just felt like I was going in the wrong way to just sell the building right now, and just not thinking of my future and everyone else’s future as well.”

The restaurant has been in Quintans’ family since it opened in 1979, and Quintans — who lives in the building — would have to move elsewhere if he sold it, he noted.

Discussions with his family also played into his decision, he said. Quintans took over the business after his father died in 2015.

“My mother wants me and my sister to stay here and work in the building, and in the restaurant, and you know, my dad left this for us as work, for us to continue to do,” he said.

“I just thought, ‘You know what, I should just accept all of the stuff that has been given to me and my family and everyone that worked here, because it wouldn’t do good to just get rid of it and sell it and… start over somewhere else,’” he added.

Quintans, who previously told DNAinfo he felt like the restaurant had taken over too much of his life, said he hoped to make changes so the job will be more manageable.

“I will definitely take steps to give myself free time and have the business running in such a way that there’s coverage for me, and for others working there, so that way we’re not overwhelmed, and it’s not all one person,” he said.

When the eatery reopens, it will “be as it was in the same location,” according to a post on its Facebook page.

After the restaurant closed last week, patrons flooded its voicemail with messages asking what had happened, Quintans said. 

“People love the food that we have here. I don’t think another place serves lobster like we do,” he said. “I feel like I’m doing the wrong thing by taking that away from my family, from the workers, the public.”