Dec. 21 By Michael Dorgan
A new restaurant offering Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine is set to open on Vernon Boulevard.
Sophra 2, which is scheduled to open next week at 47-31 Vernon Blvd., will serve items such as chicken shish kebobs, Turkish ravioli and a range of seafood dishes. The company will open at a space that was previously occupied by Pops Deli of LIC.
The new restaurant will be the second location co-owned by Seniv Icil, a Turkish immigrant, who has operated a similarly-styled eatery in Manhattan called Sophra since Dec. 2019, according to a manager.
Icil will operate Sophra 2 along with two new business partners. They have no involvement in the Manhattan location, which is located in Murray Hill.
The three owners have completely revamped the premises and given it a fresh look. The exterior wall has been painted in an ocean blue color and new company signage has gone up on the building’s facade. The old red awning has been torn down.
New tables and chairs have been placed inside the premises and there is a giant picture of the city of Istanbul on one of the walls.
The new restaurant has an outdoor space to the rear area that the owners plan on opening in the warmer months along with a small sidewalk dining area at the front, according to Freit Icil, the manager of the new restaurant. Icil also manages the company’s Manhattan joint.
He said the owners were drawn to Long Island City because of the area’s growing reputation as a food destination,
“Vernon Boulevard is a great location in a beautiful neighborhood,” Icil said.
“The community has an amazing atmosphere and people also come to town to take in the views of the great waterfront nearby.”
Freit Icil said the owners are looking forward to opening and customers can expect a variety of high-quality food options. The operators have also applied for a liquor license.
The restaurant will serve a range of beef, lamb and chicken dishes as well as kebabs and gyros. Hummus plates, vegetarian meals as well as falafel and burgers will also be on the menu.
Seafood options include salmon, whole sea bass and octopus.
Icil said the owners are undeterred by the economic havoc caused by the pandemic, noting that the Manhattan location has remained open for the last two years.
“We won’t let COVID stop us,” he said.
Opening hours will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Sundays.
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