2012-02-01 / Features

‘Grand Reopening’ Planned For Flo Lounge

BY LIZ GOFF


Owners of Flo Lounge George Liapis and Chris Minadakis. Owners of Flo Lounge George Liapis and Chris Minadakis. A new Flo Lounge Cafe has risen from the ashes.

Less than one year after a raging fire devastated the popular lounge and café at 38th Street and 30th Avenue in Astoria, owners George Liapis and Chris Minadakis are preparing to reopen Flo Lounge with fanfare.

The owners are planning a grand reopening celebration designed to say, “thanks”, to all who helped them through the tough times following the March 2011 fire, Liapis said.

“We want to thank family, friends and everyone for being there when we needed their support,” Liapis said. “And we want to welcome back our loyal patrons, who have made it clear that they can’t wait for the café to reopen.”

The Flo Lounge Cafe opened seven years ago and quickly developed a following of patrons who were drawn to the establishment’s easy access to parking, Mediterranean fusion menu, sidewalk café, live DJ and friendly staff.

“We were so happy to hear that it’s reopening soon,” Gus Nikalos said. Nikalos, 26, stood outside Flo Lounge on January 28, looking over the redesigned, three-story building that houses the lounge and several residential units.

“It’s a fun place with really friendly people,” Nikalos said. “You can’t find that in a lot of the other cafes around here.”

Nikalos said he and his friends met at Flo every weekend and at least once during the week to watch baseball, football and, of course, soccer games.

“We can get together, just the guys, and we can bring our wives and girlfriends here too,” Nikalos said. “It’s that kind of place.”

Liapis didn’t just sit idly waiting for contractors to complete massive redesign at Flo. While the lounge was getting its makeover, the impassioned restaurateur opened a new eatery, Just Burgers, in Astoria, focused on offering customers burgers “done their way.”

Just Burgers, at 33-01 Ditmars Blvd., offers burgers made from all-natural Angus beef, turkey or veggie burgers made just the way the customer wants them, Liapis said.

“The idea was to bring our neighbors in and let them build their own burger.”

Customers at Just Burgers choose their favorite meat and from an array of 10 free toppings, five types of cheese, six premium toppings and three types of buns. The restaurant also offers specialty burgers and three types of fries, Liapis said.

“People can come here and spend $9 to $10 and get a quality meal,” he added.

Liapis, a Greek-American, who has been in the restaurant business for more than 12 years, is anxiously waiting the reopening of Flo Lounge, scheduled to take place in about two weeks.

Flo Lounge will return to its regular hours, open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends. The lounge will continue to offer a live DJ on weekends and a space for private parties of up to 40 people – complete with a retractable roof for sultry spring and summer gatherings.

“We are anxious to get back to normal,” Liapis said. “We are looking forward to seeing our old friends, people who have called Flo Lounge ‘their spot’ for many years.”

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