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El Ay Si has been sold, new owners to make no significant changes

El I Si

El Ay Si

June 14, 2014 By Christian Murray

El Ay Si, the popular restaurant located at 47-38 Vernon Blvd., has changed hands.

Two men, both of whom work in the IT business, have bought the restaurant and have no plans to change it. Details of the sale are not known at this point.

“The name, management and staff are all going to remain the same,” said Alexandru Menglide, one of the two owners taking over the restaurant.

“I have worked as a computer programmer all my life and it has been a dream of mine to open a place…and finally after all these years I have found one,” said Menglide, who was looking to transfer the existing liquor license to his corporate name, at a community board meeting Wednesday.

El Ay Si (phonetically LIC) was established by Xerxes Novoa at the end of 2009 and the restaurant is known for its chicken fried chicken, nachos and pulled pork tacos.

The restaurant is small, with 9 tables, 37 seats and 8 seats at the bar.

Novoa, a Long Island City resident, said earlier this year that he was selling the business because it had become very time consuming. “You get very attached to them [restaurants]…and then you wind up being plumber/electrician and have to be around them all the time.”

At the Community Board 2 meeting, the new owners said they planned to open the restaurant on Mondays, a day that they are currently closed. They expressed a desire to open until 4 am on Thursdays through Saturdays—from their current hours of 2 am.

They have no plans on opening the backyard. In fact they are not permitted to do so by their lease.

While the community board approved the transfer of license, it was unwilling to allow the owners to extend their hours beyond 2 am at this point.

“I kind of like to leave it [the hours] where they are,” said Patrick O’Brien, the chairman of the City Services/Public Safety Committee, adding that the owners can come back to discuss adding the extra hours later.

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grilled octopus

theirs is better than Bella Via’s. Hope it stays on the menu.

Have walked out in search of outdoor seating – on a nice day, it seems wasteful to sit for hours inside to enjoy a meal. Sadly, the majority of LIC spaces that currently have back yard usage do have poor food. Shi’s food is really good, but their backyard is currently covered in scaffold. Riverview should just close before more people are subjected to their horrible (sometimes poisoning) food. Such a shame to see such a prime spot be so poorly utilized.


I love this place but its true more as a bar with bar food… the menu could use a refresh if they continue in the other direction. But if I’m in the mood just for margaritas and nachos, its best in the neighborhood.

Dorothy Morehead

@ Doomed The post said the lease, not the community board, does not allow use of the backyard. Another factor that might restrict use of a backyard is lack of a second means of egress if occupancy of the backyard exceeds that allowed by law.


Here we go again people getting into the restaurant business that are not trained or experienced than they say we won’t change it? What the hell did you buy it for? If you have endless amounts of money to blow on a business that leaves you with around 10% after everything is paid, give it to me.


I am very for outdoor seating….however I have not once walked out of a place because they didn’t have it. If their food is banging I’d sit on the floor to eat it… Main thing is to improve food quality and you will get the business, LIC needs some good food/chefs…. no short cuts! people can see/taste it… I’m not a fan of El ai see, they are known for fried chicken but.. let’s just say I walked out a little confused a couple years back when I tried it.


The new owners are going to regret not changing anything about the place! My husband and I have not been to the restaurant in some time, after a very disappointing couple of visits. They had an amazing Shepards Pie which they took off the menu – but the service was spotty and food was so-so. The place would serve better as a bar with food (ala Woodbines) then a restaurant with a bar…especially if they are open til 4am. We actually feel bad when we walk past the place several times a week and see that no one is there except the staff drinking at the bar. We hope for improvement/change and hopefully to return!!! All good vibes, just disappointed…


The new owners are going to regret telling the community board that they won’t use their yard once they see how many customers walk out in search of outdoor seating.


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