Aug. 21, 2013 By Christian Murray
M. Wells, the acclaimed Long Island City restaurant that closed in the summer of 2011, was supposed to open its steakhouse in July.
However, there have been delays. And there are likely to be several more to come.
“We are hoping to open by Christmas,” said Aidan O’Neal, the manager of M Wells. “We are building a nice restaurant from scratch,” he said. “This is no McDonald’s where everything works according to formula.”
O’Neal did not get into the specifics as to what was slowing them down. However, the owners have always had a big task in front of them: turning an old auto body shop, located at 43-15 Crescent Street, into a quality restaurant.
The new restaurant, to be called M. Wells Steakhouse, will be a “meat temple,” Hugue Dufour, a co-owner said in July. It will serve steaks and “European-style” cuts of meat.
Dufour said that the restaurant will seat 80 people and he will be using part of the space to build a catamaran with the help of some friends. However, the catamaran will be a work in progress and will not be completed by the time the restaurant opens.
He said that he is also constructing a 24 sq ft. concrete trough where he will keep live trout for eating.
The focus, nevertheless, will be on meat and poultry. “It won’t be pretentious,” the Canadian native said.
M. Wells has been operating a dinette out of a MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave.) since the fall of 2012. The dinette pays homage to the building’s former identity as a schoolhouse with communal tables.
However, the dinette’s hours are limited—open Thursday-Monday from 12- 6 pm.
“It’s a small operation and we need to make a living,” Dufour said, who operates the business with his wife. “It’s hard to live when all you can provide is lunch (given the limited hours).”
Dufour has no plans to close the dinette when he opens the restaurant.
M. Wells built a huge following in Long Island City when it operated a tin-can diner at 21-17 49th Avenue.
It closed and the owners blamed its demise on a rent increase.