Today’s news:

Audit may slow reopening of CaffÉ on the Green hall

The concessionaire that will replace Bayside’s CaffÉ on the Green could face an audit that would slow down the opening of a new catering hall and restaurant along the Cross Island Parkway, a spokesman for the city comptroller said.

CaffÉ on the Green, which was at 201−10 Cross Island Pkwy. in Bayside, closed its doors permanently on Jan. 1 after the city decided not to renew concessionaire Joseph Franco’s contract. Earlier this year, the city Parks Department chose Manhattan’s Friendship Restaurant Group to take over the site. The new restaurant will be called Valentino’s on the Green.

But a spokesman for city Comptroller William Thompson said an audit has been proposed for Flushing’s Worlds Fair Marina Restaurant and Banquet, which is also operated by Friendship. He said the audit was routine.

A Parks Department spokeswoman said the new concessionaire would be able to open at the site following the comptroller’s report as well as a building inspection. Friendship, which is made up of several groups including White Plains−based restaurant Famous Famiglia, would also have to obtain a liquor license, she said.

Famous Famiglia President Paul Kolaj could not be reached for comment. The Parks spokeswoman said members of another restaurant group, Usha Holdings, played a role in Worlds Fair’s operation.

But a man whose phone number was listed as a contact for Usha said the group was not involved with either Worlds Fair or Valentino’s on the Green.

Community Board 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty, who was opposed to Franco’s removal as the site’s concessionaire, said the city never notified the board about which concessionaire would replace CaffÉ on the Green.

“We’ve been yelling and screaming about this, but they’ve given us no idea what’s going on,” he said.

Friendship also operates 22 other restaurants across the city.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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