Upper West Side Eatery Set to Reopen Next Month

| 02 Mar 2015 | 05:02

Local Greek eatery Kefi comes back stronger than ever

After months of anticipation, Greek eatery Kefi (505 Columbus Ave) can say with certainty that they will re-open by early November.

"For almost a year, I've been getting calls and emails asking when we're reopening from people who need their Kefi fix," said owner and chef Michael Psilakis. "I think the neighborhood really embraced us because there's no pretention at all. I think we were the first place to really make ethnic food more approachable to the average person. It's a fun, casual place where people come to dress down and talk loud."

In January, a frozen pipe burst and spewed nearly six feet of water into the restaurant. It took months of fighting insurance companies and the Department of Buildings, but, in July, Psilakis and his crew were finally able to begin renovating.

Now, locals are counting the days until they can once again order their favorites appetizers, like the Octopus, a staple at almost every single table. The menu will remain mostly the same, since the locals already have their long-time favorites.

"The most popular entrée is definitely the Branzino, our grilled sea bass served over a warm salad of fingerling potatoes, roasted tomato, olives, lemon and olive oil. It captures Greek and Mediterranean food all in one shot," said Psilakis.

What will change, however, is the atmosphere. Chef Psilakis and his crew took the opportunity to revamp the restaurant. A large table for twelve will flank the front, more seats will be added around the bar, TVs will go up on the walls, and diners can also expect new music and a new sound system. Downstairs, a new "theme of warmth" will include orange, brown, and yellow hues and lots of mosaic tiles.

"People ask, 'Why do Greeks break plates and throw money?' They do it when they reach Kefi, which is the embodiment of this emotional place you arrive at when there's a wonderful harmony between food, drink, friendship, and music. It embodies those few moments where you realize what life is really about," said Psilakis. "When you reach that moment, you celebrate by breaking plates and throwing money and flowers to signify the throwing away of less important, materialistic things."

So, should you be on the lookout for broken glass on opening night?

"Nobody's broken a plate yet," said Psilakis, "but if someone does it at our grand reopening, I won't be mad at them."