So you know that the Rusty Pelican closed a few weeks back, and that at the same time, we noted that building that housed it, along with Murphy’s Irish Pub, the rug shop on the other side (and, it turns out, the north half of the block including Cutz Salon and the house next door) were for sale, with development plans listed (see RIP Rusty Pelican).
Well, put your fears to rest: we caught up with Costas Antonopoulos, the property owner to get story and it does not sound like he’s anywhere close to selling at the moment.
Yes, the property is listed (now marked “off-market”), but…
“A realtor comes to me, he tells me he can find a buyer for the property, but I don’t want to sell,” he explained. “But you know these guys…’I’ve got a guy in New York, I’ll talk to him, this, that’. So I told him look, if you find someone to build it for me and give me back the first floor for commercial space, he can keep the other six floors (and get the variance to build them), then we’ll talk. Oh, and also I need the first level of underground parking for my customers.”
So it’s listed, but at $13.5M with those terms, there aren’t buyers lining up. So, beer drinkers, open mic singers and trivia night players, lean back and rest easy.
But what about the Rusty Pelican? A number of readers have noted that the sign out front now says “Opening Soon Under New Management”.
Costas himself will be opening a restaurant in the spot.
Wallingford has seen a number of restaurants come and go, but Costas is no neophyte to the restaurant business: he opened Costa’s on the Ave before selling it to his brother (who still operates it) back in 1976, his younger brother runs Byzantion on Capitol Hill and Costas himself owned and operated Costas Opa next to the Fremont Bridge up until he sold it two years ago.
Despite his own Greek background and obvious experience with Greek food, he insists it won’t be a Greek restaurant.
“This neighborhood, a Greek restaurant,” his voice trailed away into a skeptical, thickly accented murmur. “No, it will be neighborhood food: breakfast, lunch, dinner, yes, gyros, tzatziki, souvlaki, but also lasagna, spaghetti, neighborhood food that fills your belly without breaking your wallet.”
Costas is hoping to open by the end of the month, but he has some work ahead of him: contrary to what I wrote in my earlier post, the departure of The Rusty Pelican was not on happy terms. While Costas declined to comment, it was apparent from looking around (and confirmed independently) that the place had been stripped in a hurry on the way out: half a counter was removed, sawed haphazardly, appliances ripped from walls, and fixtures missing.
“Seven months ago, I was in Greece, and my sons called me, said the rent wasn’t being paid, so I came back,” he explained.
That explains the eviction notice that was posted on the door until recently.
We’ll let you know when the restaurant is ready to open, but again: no need to fear for Murphy’s.
“I don’t want to sell,” he said. “Murphy’s, the rug place, the hair lady, we have a good relationship.”
Sounds good to me.