You are reading

New Restaurant Offering Authentic Spanish Fare to Open in Astoria

A new Spanish eatery called Sala will open in Astoria next month (Photo provided by Michael Jannetta)

Feb. 9, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Manhattan’s loss will soon be Astoria’s gain.

The owners of two Manhattan-based restaurants that closed during the pandemic are opening a Spanish eatery in Astoria next month.

The restaurant, to be called Sala, will offer traditional dishes such as tapas, pinchos and raciones—and will open at The World Artisan Market, a repurposed warehouse building located at 34-39 31st St. Sala is one of several restaurants that will be moving into the building.

Sala, which means “living room” in Spanish, will be the second establishment to open in the building, following on from Sotto La Luna that opened in December.

The new restaurant is owned by Michael Jannetta and Robert Lombardi who operated two eateries in the Flatiron district of Manhattan until the pandemic forced them to shutter. They had operated Sala One Nine and Rye House for well over a decade.

Jannetta, 55, said they decided to open in Astoria after they heard from the developers at the World Artisan Market.

“We decided to go for it,” Jannetta said. “Astoria has a lot of history; it has a fabric of food and culture that we want to be part of. All the good things are coming to Astoria.”

The pair have taken two of the seven available restaurant spaces at the market. They will be located next door to Sotto La Luna.

Jannetta, who is originally from Pittsburg and currently lives in the Hudson Valley, said they initially signed a lease for one of the spaces but later decided to occupy the adjoining space. The pair have demolished the dividing wall to create one 4,000 square foot space.

He said that building out the space has caused some delays in opening. They aim to open on March 1 but the timeline is dependent on permits and paperwork coming through on time.

The restaurant will have a large seating area situated between the two tapas bars (Photo provided by Michael Jannetta)

The restaurant, Jannetta said, will have a modern Mediterranean feel with a blue, green and an off-white color scheme. It will also have some industrial features to reflect the history of Queens, he said.

There will be two bars inside the restaurant – one on either side of the premises – with a large seating area in the middle, Jannetta said. One of the bar areas will be used primarily for private functions while the entire space has seating for more than 100 patrons.

Jannetta said there will be a stage to host live music events and dancing, while a large projector screen is being installed that will be used to show sports games.

There will also be an outdoor area at the front of the restaurant that will be constructed in the spring. It will seat around 40 patrons, Jannetta said.

One of the tapas bars inside Sala on 31st Street (Photo provided by Michael Jannetta)

Jannetta has spent most of his career operating Spanish restaurants, although he is not of Spanish heritage.

His interest in Spanish cuisine began when he spent a college semester studying near Madrid in the 1980s. Jannetta said he instantly fell in love with Spain’s food and culture. Since then, he has made frequent trips to the country, often spending long summers there.

Jannetta said that he and Lombardi are now ready and excited to bring their Spanish offerings to Astoria.

“It’s a big reset,” Jannetta said. “We’re going to take the best of what we did as our core and then build on it with some new things added as well.”

The menu at Sala has not been finalized but will likely consist of a wide variety of tapas.

Some of the main dishes will include grilled Mediterranean Sea bass, organic chicken and steak.

There will also be “raciones,” which are large dishes designed to be shared by groups, and an abundant array of pinchos, meaning “pieces of bread.”

Some of the food that was on offer at Sala One Nine in Manhattan. Janetta says the presentation of dishes at Sala in Astoria will be different (Photo via Instagram)

Jannetta said that a renowned Spanish chef named Bárbara Amorós will design the menu in the coming weeks. Jannetta met Amorós while traveling in Spain.

Meanwhile, the wine list will consist exclusively of Spanish labels. Cocktails will also be on the menu along with beers such as 1906 Reserva Especial and Alhambra Especial.

Jannetta also said there will be a small deli area inside the restaurant where customers can purchase readymade items.

Opening hours will be from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Jannetta said they will likely open for brunch on weekends in coming months.

There will be two bars inside the restaurant – one on each side of the premises – with a large seating area in the middle of the space (Photo provided by Michael Jannetta)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the big game in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.