Today’s news:

Valentino’s will replace Bayside’s Caffe on Green

Bayside’s Caffe on the Green will be replaced by a new restaurant and catering hall that will honor the memory of the silent film star in whose home the eatery was built, a spokeswoman for the city Parks Department said.

The popular Caffe on the Green shut its doors permanently on New Year’s Day after the city chose Manhattan−based Friendship Restaurant Group to replace Joseph Franco as the Cross Island Parkway site’s concessionaire.

Friendship will replace Caffe with Valentino’s on the Green, which will be named after silent film legend Rudolph Valentino, a Parks spokeswoman said. Caffe on the Green was built on the site of Valentino’s former home.

The new restaurant and catering hall will offer similar services and Italian food to patrons, the spokeswoman said.

The city has given Franco until Jan. 31 to vacate the site and the new concessionaire will be able to move into the building Feb. 1, she said. But the site must first undergo renovations and be inspected by the city Health Department as well as obtain a liquor license before it can open, she said.

Friendship also operates the Worlds Fair Marina Restaurant and Banquet in Flushing as well as 22 other city restaurants.

The Parks spokeswoman said the city ended its agreement with Franco following an investigation conducted by the city Department of Investigation. But she would not comment on the nature of the investigation or its findings.

Caffe on the Green released a statement on its Web site, which said that the catering hall would reopen at another site in Bayside at an undisclosed time.

Officials at the restaurant claim Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Parks Department prematurely terminated their licensing agreement unjustifiably and without cause, according to their Web site.

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

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