Wednesday, May 23, 2012

No Big Surprise: Greek Restaurant 'Athena' Calls It Quits On Smith Street

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Athena, the Greek restaurant at 213 Smith Street in Boerum Hill, has closed its doors.  This won't come as a big surprise to many in the neighborhood,   I am sure.   The Mediterranean eatery never really took off in the neighborhood and in recent weeks, the place seemed mostly empty.
Though the food was all right, the 'trendy' decor, with its white fake leather banquettes, was a bit tacky and didn't really have that "Smith Street" vibe. Athena didn't get much love from Yelp reviewers either. Eric S. wrote: "Athena is a grave insult to one of the world's oldest, richest and most soulful cuisines. Everything about this place bespeaks laziness, corner-cutting and general contempt for (or ignorance of) excellence. Oh, and it's way overpriced, too, adding insult to culinary injury."
Ouch!
Perhaps Athena's biggest problem was that, for a while, the restaurant's owner got himself into a bit of trouble regarding his liquor lisence and using the restaurant as a dance club.
In the fall of 2011, the owner of Athena submitted an on-premises liquor license to the NYState Liquor Authority.  When he came in front of Community Board 6 for a review of the application,  it was pointed out that the restaurant already had a full bar and was serving liquor to patrons.  When asked by members of CB6's Permits and Licenses  why he was serving alcohol without a proper license, he replied that he believed that he was covered under the previous owner's license.
Several neighbors attended the CB6 meeting, complaining that Athena turned into a dance club
at night. and hosted weekly Salsa dances.  The amplified music kept neighbors awake.
When asked by CB6 if he had a cabaret license, a necessity when allowing dancing in an establishment, Athena's owner admitted that he did not.
CB6 subsequently voted against supporting a liquor license for the establishment.

Athena's sister restaurant in Park Slope is still open.
The business on Smith Street is currently for sale.

Any thoughts on what would be a nice neighborhood addition in that space?


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

No surprise. Now lets all go support Grant!

Anonymous said...

We tried this place a year ago and it was super disappointing. The food was... fine, but not very greek (or at least the dishes we had). Their price points were all wonky as well. I think we had two entrees, shared a starter, and split a bottle of greek wine and the bill was around $120 which seemed ridiculous for what we had (they gouged people on the wine list - their markup was insane).

Apart from Wasabi which was in that place in the early 2000s, it's been a bit cursed. Before Athena it was the odd Mexican place. I don't recall what it was before Wasabi. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

The food was awful. I took my Greek inlaws there and it was a real diappointment.

A quality greek place would be a welcome additionto the Smith St. dining scene.

Anonymous said...

would be nice if not a restaurant or bar.

Anonymous said...

How about good Indian or Nepalese?

Little Earthquake said...

I never went there because the prices scared me away. If you've had Greek in Astoria you know it's generally cheap fare. I could tolerate a slight markup but not what Athena was charging.

Anonymous said...

I hope it's either a Italian-burger or burger-Italian joint. We really need one of those.

Anonymous said...

before Wasabi it was office space.
wish it would return to something like that.

Anonymous said...

Gutted. The kebabs were awesome.

Anonymous said...

We need a good Korean restaurant!

Anonymous said...

Why no body complaining about Pane E Vino at 174 Smith Street ? That place does not have Cabaret license either, they turned the place into dance club not once a week, last month is almost everyday !!! Especially on weekend really annoying people screamed and dance like crazy !