Park Place Restaurant opens new doors to public

Robert Pelaez

Park Place Restaurant, one of the businesses damaged by a fire on Covert Avenue in Floral Park last year, opened to the public at its new location in New Hyde Park on Friday.

The New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, with the help of Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), cut the ribbon at Park Place’s new home at 1218 Jericho Turnpike. Nicolello praised owners Matt Tesoriero and Patrick O’Halloran for their role in the eatery being a staple of the greater New Hyde Park community.

“It is great to see Pat and Matt reopen Park Place,” Nicolello said. “They have rebuilt the restaurant better than ever and the community is thrilled to have this terrific restaurant in this location that has been a gathering spot for generations.”

A fire that reportedly began in Park Place’s old location at 41 Covert Ave. in September extended to 11 adjacent storefronts, according to officials from the Nassau County Police Department. Tesoriero said the entire Park Place family “was devastated,” realizing an already difficult year caused by the coronavirus had become more burdensome with having to start over.

“What happened was a total loss for us,” Tesoriero said in a January phone interview with Blank Slate Media. “Once the morning subsided and we were left with a pile of ashes here, we were devastated.”

Tesoriero, whose background is in real estate and marketing, said the owners, himself and three lifelong best friends, hit the ground running. The four friends initially started by throwing in $100 each week when they were 25 years old before purchasing Park Place.

The New Hyde Park natives had to start the process all over again, only this time they had the knowledge and experience of 10 years in the restaurant industry. They also had the support of the Floral Park community, which raised more than $39,000 for local businesses that were damaged in the fire.

“We’re neighborhood guys that grew up in New Hyde Park and went to New Hyde Park High School,” Tesoriero said. “Our theory is to keep something, we have to give back to it. When the fire hit we had such overwhelming support from the community which gave us the motivation and support we needed.”

In November, Park Place announced that it would move into the location that for more than 150 years was host to the Olde Trading Post at 1218 Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park. The store was initially built as a one-story wooden structure in 1868, according to its website. While the first floor was used as a grocery store, the second floor was constructed to be used as a dance hall, and as a meeting place for churches, fire department gatherings and more.

On Nov. 29, the Olde Trading Post officially closed its doors to the public, but ownership expressed optimism over having a staple of the New Hyde Park community entering in its place.

“As we are sad about our departure, we want to congratulate and wish the best of luck to Park Place as they are taking over,” the website’s home page said. “We look forward to continuously supporting them in the future.”

“We are proud to announce that we have found our new home, in our original hometown of New Hyde Park,“ Park Place ownership said in a November post. “Our motivation to re-open was not only to keep our brand alive but to keep all the people that made it possible, employed. Our employees are our family and we were determined to bring their workplace back as fast as possible.”

Tesoriero called the move into the Olde Trading Post “a match made in heaven.” He said that finding the establishment that is already so familiar to the New Hyde Park community was a silver lining in the process.

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