Mineola residents will have a new place to stop by for a cup of coffee on their way to the train on their morning commute.
The recently unanimously approved an application of Valley Stream resident Mary Ellen Villalta to open a combination fast-food/ dine-in restaurant at 95 Mineola Boulevard, the site of the old “Mo’ Joe” restaurant on the corner of Second Street near the Mineola Boulevard trestle. The establishment would offer food and a menu similar to Sarabeth’s Bakery in Manhattan – where Villalta and her business partner worked – and include sandwiches and brunch on weekends. All food would be homemade on the premises.
“Any plans on sugar free?” Trustee Lawrence Werther asked.
“Now I do,” Villalta said.
According to Villalta’s attorney Rex Whitehorn of Great Neck, the application is “identical” to the one for “Mo’ Joe” including 11 original conditions including having about 10-12 tables, storing refuse in the basement until pickup, simulated outdoor seating and a total of about four to six employees. Approximately 60 percent of the business would be for sit-down patrons. Hours of operation would be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The new facade of the restaurant would be black with a light green trim. Villalta has also offered to install a trash receptacle at the corner to alleviate litter concerns pending board approval.
Whitehorn said that Villalta has entered into a long-term lease for the location and “our goal is to be a ‘lifer’ in the neighborhood.” The building’s landlord has also reportedly lived above the business location for the past four decades. The planned opening for the restaurant is shortly after October 15.
An electric oven would be used in the basement for food preparation with open-flame via a gas-powered oven/ range on the first floor. Much of the food would be “preparation on the spot” Whitehorn said.
The restaurant would accept deliveries three to four times per week with the exception of bread, which would be delivered daily. Whitehorn said that the intention is to have deliveries just before or at the time of opening or closing “so we don’t impede the pedestrian traffic and parking.”
Whitehorn described the deliveries as “very minor” in the number of items delivered that are “easily carryable,” saying that “we don’t even expect there to be a hand truck.” Villalta said that she planned on picking up most items herself at the in Garden City.
The board did expressed concern about delivery trucks blocking traffic getting to train station.
“My concern is that it becomes a strictly take out establishment and we’re running into traffic, double parking at that intersection, people running in for a quick cup of coffee,” said. “We’re going to have traffic issues and at times we don’t need any more.”
Trustee Paul Cusato was the only person who voted against the permit for “Mo’ Joe” because of concerns about the traffic and parking.
Whitehorn responded by saying that it was “physically impossible” to double park “considering the size of the street” as it is only a single lane.
Village building superintendent Dan Whalen said all previous violations under the previous occupant were addressed.