March 8, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
Black Star Bakery and Kitchen, a popular café/restaurant on the bustling corner of Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue has closed and will reopen as a bagel and juice bar.
The café closed on Sunday, March 5, and is scheduled to reopen under the new concept on March 20, according to owners Dan and Odehel Magor, who are Long Island City residents.
The husband-and-wife duo say they want to bring something fresh to the prominent corner space, which is situated next to the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue subway station.
The new establishment will be called City Bagels and Juice Bar, and Dan Magor said it will offer high-quality bagels and a wide variety of juices. The full menu is still being worked on, he said, but all bagels will be baked in-house.
Dan Magor said the kitchen equipment from the 10-01 50th Ave. location – which opened two years ago — is being moved to a new café the couple is opening in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
The Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue location opened two years ago and was known for offering sandwiches, pastries and breakfast items. Black Star also served Mediterranean-style food such as shakshuka, hummus and mezze.
It had a more extensive menu than its other locations since it had a larger kitchen, Dan Magor said. The couple has four other Black Star cafés, with one located about a block and a half away at 2-10 50th Ave., two in Manhattan and another in Williamsburg. They also operate four other cafés in California under a different brand, Dan Magor said.
Magor said they want to bring some variety to the neighborhood and felt there was a need for a bagel and juice bar at Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue. Black Star café on 2-10 50th Ave. is staying open, he said.
“We were looking to add something new so people will have more options,” Dan Magor said.
“We always want to do good for the community and the neighborhood, we have lived here for eight years,” he said.
The couple opened the Vernon Boulevard and 50th Avenue location in 2021, having taken it over from Dorian Café. The space was completely refurbished with white walls, porcelain tile counters, black menu boards and black chairs.
Dan Magor said the couple is making some minor cosmetic changes to the new establishment before reopening. The windows and doors at the café are now covered up.
A sign on one of the windows reads: “Black Star Café is moving to (UES) Upper East Side Manhattan. There is something new coming soon. Thank you all for the amazing support over the last two years.”
The sudden closure of Black Star Bakery and Kitchen caught residents by surprise with many taking to local Facebook groups to discuss the matter.
People were unsure as to what would replace the café while others lamented the loss of the café’s kitchen, which churned out its Mediterranean offerings.
“We were surprised that the kitchen is held in such high regard,” Dan Magor said.
“Because of the feedback, we will look at opening a separate location in Long Island City to serve the Mediterranean menu, as we don’t want to disappoint our neighbors.”
The avalanche of comments compelled Odehel Magor to post on the Facebook groups explaining the reason for the concept change.
“It is very heartwarming to see most of the comments here. This location was doing very well thanks to all of you, it was our second busiest location out of the five,” Odehel Magor wrote on the post, which was shared by the Hunters Point South Waterfront Residents Facebook page.
“We thought that this corner spot [could] use a different type of concept, so the secret is revealed.
“We hope this will do good to the neighborhood, especially on that busy corner.”