Photo yesterday by Stacie Joy
The former Odessa space at 119 Avenue A has a new tenant.
Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld at Grub Street report that Superiority Burger has signed a lease for the former diner between Seventh Street and St. Mark's Place.
For starters, Brooks Headley, owner of the all-vegetarian quick-serve spot, tells the outlet that he's not changing a thing:
"Odessa has always kinda been my dream space," he says. What's so dreamy about it is that besides being big, it comes completely furnished and ready to go. "It's not old and dusty and gross and needing upgrades," he says. "I find it completely beautiful — the soda counter, the satellite bar, the cash register station. I don't plan to change it at all."
Superiority will be making the short move around the corner from Ninth Street in the months ahead:
Headley says that he'll need to order some new kitchen equipment and anticipates that it will take at least five months — probably more, what with supply-chain issues — until the new Superiority opens its doors. The plan is to launch dinner service first and then open for lunch and breakfast (yes, breakfast!). He will likely surrender the ancillary kitchen space he leases on 9th Street but keep the original store for purposes yet to be determined.
In July 2020, longtime manager Dennis Vassilatos said that Odessa was shutting down after a prolonged slump in business due to the pandemic. (Odessa Restaurant opened in this space in April 1995. The original Odessa, the longtime favorite that dated to the mid-1960s, closed next door in August 2013.)
However, closer to the last day, co-owner Steve Helios told Gothamist that Odessa was only closing temporarily, that the space would be renovated. (The building's landlord is Odessa partner Mike Skulikidis.)
The space has sat untouched since then.
Earlier in the summer, Louis Skibar, whose Toloache Restaurant Group revived the classic UWS diner Old John's Luncheonette, which dates to the 1950s, was said to be eyeing Odessa.
Superiority opened in the East Village in June 2015.