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LIC architect to design and open his own train-themed Jackson Ave. restaurant

Station LIC

Station LIC

Feb. 24, 2014 By Michael Florio

A Long Island City architect who designs restaurants for a living is converting a vacant building above the Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave subway station into a train-themed bar/restaurant.

The restaurant, to be called Station LIC, will be located at 10-37 Jackson Avenue, inside a triangular-shaped building that has been empty for more than a decade.

Gregory Okshteyn, a Center Blvd resident who will co-own Station LIC, uses the subway station every day and believes it is the perfect space for a hangout if the venue can be remodeled properly.

He said the location has a rich history. It was the home of a successful saloon called Blessinger’s and was also featured in the 1980’s Tom Cruise film ‘Cocktail.’

Okshteyn runs his own architecture firm called Studio Go, where he designs restaurants for businesses across the city. However, this will be the first restaurant of his own, which he will be opening with business partners Robert Bensky and Christopher Ferrante.

“It is my passion in life to design restaurants and it was par for the course to develop my own,” he said.

The location of the building played a large role in railroad theme design, he said.

“We have the Jackson Ave station right below us and you can literally hear the subway in our cellar…and we are one stop away from Grand Central station,” Okshteyn said.

He hopes this unique theme will draw people from other neighborhoods–as well as Manhattan residents.

“The train station theory is so much fun because it is a rich genre for decorative inspiration and it is also known for transporting people,” Okshteyn said. “When you go out, you want to feel like you are transported somewhere and taken away for a few hours.”

Okshteyn said that there is a need for a venue in the neighborhood like his.

“I realized that there are a lot of great restaurants in the area, but nowhere to go after you eat,” he said. “There are too many young, cool, hip people in this neighborhood in need of a local hangout.

Business partner Christoper Ferrante, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and ran Bar 89 in Manhattan, will design the menu.

The menu is still being designed but will feature small dishes such as fried eggplant parmesan w/smoked mozzarella; grass fed dry aged burgers; spice-rubbed roast chicken; bacon tater tots with white cheddar; cheese nachos with cilantro and jalapeño; and chicken wings.

Okshteyn plans to keep his architectural firm going while also owning the restaurant.

He hopes to open in May.

The development of the restaurant was first reported by the blog We Heart LIC.

Design plan

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21 Comments

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LIC Resident2

Adding more craft beer spots is good for the area, I go to Woodbines and Alobar for beer all the time. And I hear Alobar is going to start having later hours soon to be more of bar destination.
Hopefully the food will be good at Station because I don’t like the food at Opendoor or Alewife.

Reply
Zoë Morsette

I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 30 yrs. and will be happy to see some life again in Blessinger’s old space. I have a prop shop in the neighborhood and also specialize in model train scenery if you ever need any! I will definitely stop by in May.

Reply
Anonymous

Why can’t there be a beer hall AND the Station LIC?

How can a person honestly say that all LIC needs is 10 bars to frequent when we have thousands of residents with many more on the way.

I like woodbines – i also like Alewife, Alobar, etc. One day i go to one, next day i check out the other… And get this — Im not a drunk just because i go have a drink after work at the bar… AND somehow I’ve managed not to fall down the steps at the 7 train.

If that the issue, perhaps to avoid people falling down the steps we should shut down the subway when it snows. That will keep everyone safe.

Let new places open up — maybe people who live here will start to go out and explore — visit bars, restaurants, museums. nothing wrong with that. AND it will help many of our neighbors who are trying to make a living by opening up these establishments succeed.

The occasional event – a rowdy individual – shouldnt make the rule.

Reply
anonymous

Andy, how do you expect non locals to come to LIC with no 7 train? Definitely don’t want them drinking and driving. I both work and live in LIC, enough is enough especially with the PS 1 series, people get drunk then litter, make a mess, pass out on stoops, etc, I would be especially careful to have a subway station outside an exit how soon till someone falls down those steps after exiting. I say goodluck to them, but we already have places that fit the bill. Andy how about woodbines?

Reply
Andy

Great news that this corner is getting some attention. I’ve lived a block away for five years now, and the old facade was sort of an eyesore on that interesting triangular corner. I walk by the location constantly and it seems like they are hard at work on the renovations!

As for the previous commenter, why can’t Jackson Ave get a little craft beer love? Opendoor is great but the seats are too small, plus this place looks like it might have a more appealing “bar menu”.

Also…tourist trap? Hardly. If it means a few non-locals might occasionally swing to check it out, then I say to them, LIC welcomes you. Spend money in our hood, and you’re welcome here anytime.

Can’t wait to check out Station LIC when it opens.

Reply
Anon

I just don’t get it. LIC already has Three bars that focus on Craft beers, Alewife, Opendoor, and Woodbines. Also the fact now you will have four bars in a two block area. LIC Station will become a tourist trap for people wanting to see where cocktail was filmed (Baker Street on first ave in the city already has this problem). Hunterspoint is almost at the point of saturation of bars especially for an area the politicians are calling family oriented. Welcome to the LIC version of Bedford Ave.

Reply
Doreen

Blessinger’s was famous for great sandwiches as low prices. One of the best loved in my house was their overly filled shrimp parmagiano hero which sold for approx. $2.50.

Reply
Ro

Stan,

People that draw pictures (architects) are great at designing spaces and people that cook (chefs) are usually good at preparing food. You put both of them together and you have the potential for a great place that sells food (restaurant).

Reply
Anon

I wouldn’t get so bothered by the comment. It was a bit of a stretch. If the place looks cool (and I like the sound of the project), has good food and drinks and service, that’s all that matters. Maybe the spirit of Blessinger’s is still alive in that place. That was a great spot for many years.

Reply
HEADLINER

Wow… 18 hours before the first snarky, negative comment. Great job everybody. Let’s keep up the good work. Absolutely genius.

Reply
Gregory Okshteyn

Thank you all for the positivity and support. Our entire team is working very hard to create a place for all to share and enjoy for many years to come. See you soon at Station LIC!!

Reply
Stan

Here’s the perfect reason why restaurants close. People that draw pictures of them think they know how to operate them. A train themed restaurant in NYC. Now let’s just think about this idea for a minute. New Yorkers spending at least 5 days a week on and off a train want to go spend more time at a restaurant making them feel like they are back on a train again. Absolutely genius.

Reply
Get Your Facts Right

The tavern was called Blessinger’s, not Besiegers. And it was open into the 1980s, not just the 1930s. Blessinger’s was a very popular spot and had good food.

The place was later remodeled with that ugly stucco facade you see today. The original building had brick and cast iron front and large windows.

Otherwise, good news. It’s a real shame it’s taken so long to bring that property back to good use. Good luck to the new owners.

Reply
LIC Dude

Thank God a place to drink/eat that has more than one bathroom!

I’m looking forward to checking it out and sampling the menu. We definitely need a hang-out spot around here. And it’ll help liven up Jackson Avenue a bit.

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