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Nisi (Englewood)


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Had a really nice meal at Nisi last night. My initial thoughts before I had any of the food was "do we really need another expensive Greek restaurant in Bergen County besides Axia and Varka?"

 

My answer is -- Yes.

 

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John Piliouras, Executive Chef. Formerly of Molyvos in Manhattan.

 

Flickr -- Nisi Photos (click)

 

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  • 2 years later...

The Bergen Record recently published something they call a "mini-review". It appears to be an unsigned recycle of a 2009 review and description of how the restaurant performed a few years ago.

 

Of what value is this kind of nonsense?

 

Nisi

 

My guess is that this is their way of re-highlighting existing restaurants with filler space. Basically like a NYT Quick Bite but recycling old materia.

 

Nisi has had a number of problems in the last year or so, financially related. There was talk earlier of them closing down, but they have sent emails to their mailing list to the effect of "we're not closing, etc." I'm not sure if they have new investors or what, but this may be part of a new effort to bring in more customers.

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I've been to Nisi a couple of times. Didn't care for the place. Axia is worlds better IMO. Nisi is spilling over with pretension, you feel it right from the moment you walk in, from the host to the waiter to the menu to the crowd.

 

Axia, one town away, is nicer looking, more comfortable, the feeling is sooooo much warmer, the food at Axia is great, especially the grilled whole fish. Axia also has an extremely thorough selection of all Greek wines, a nice treat and quite different from the wines we are used to.

 

No, I don't need a place like Nisi when I have Axia.

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for the posts and information. The building had been "rumored" for sale for a long time, albeit on the QT for most of it. Because of the owner's situation, and the pricing, it was going to be a very strategic buyer. Kind of like, it seemed as if the property was worth more to a certain "neighbor" than to anyone else, even perhaps a current tenant. Regardless, all supposition.

 

That said, I liked the place. I've been to Nisi, Axia and Varka numerous times. Could I say which one I like better on the food side? Sure. But not the same as far as experience, because it depends on what I am looking for.

 

However, while obvious, to me while restaurants can be categorized together, these three are different. I like Varka, when it's not too crowded and too much of a "scene" so to speak. So I avoid Thursday night and I'm fine, LOL. Perhaps I give it a bit of a psychological edge because it is closer to me. Nisi used to be the closest when I lived in that area. To me, Nisi tries to do more with the ambiance, aesthetics, etc., almost more "upscale" but I hesitate to say that. Maybe that's their model. Axia is more "casual" and a relaxed environment.

 

Anyway, I wonder if they are going to stick to Englewood.

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"Purely a real estate deal" and "we're seeking another location"

 

Closing December 31

 

Yeah, similar to the familiar "Closed for Renovation" signs. :) This was pretty quick, though, seems like less than 3 years...

 

In this real estate climate, it's just extremely difficult to believe that a property sale was more valuable than a thriving business.

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Tough news -- I had plans to go there, too -- but a temporary setback, I'm sure. And for die-hards, it's offers an excuse to try Axia, Varka and Oceanos, all of which are excellent in their own ways.

 

I keep thinking of this line from a story about Nisi's opening in 2009:

 

"You can't create a restaurant with a budget. If the budget is the priority, you shouldn't be in the restaurant business." -- Nisi co-owner Orthon Mourkakos in 2009.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dined at Nisi tonight and asked one of the owners if they’re really going to reopen elsewhere – they are closing December 31 and selling their building to a car dealership.

 

The answer: yes, but in Soho. They can’t make big money in NJ where the bulk of their revenues comes in two nights – Friday and Saturday.

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"You can't create a restaurant with a budget. If the budget is the priority, you shouldn't be in the restaurant business." -- Nisi co-owner Orthon Mourkakos in 2009.

 

That's ridiculous. Try telling that to the investors and financiers who back new restaurants. They are the folks with the money, not the chefs and the people you see on the publicity. And they want numbers.

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"Purely a real estate deal" and "we're seeking another location"

 

Closing December 31

 

Yeah, similar to the familiar "Closed for Renovation" signs. :) This was pretty quick, though, seems like less than 3 years...

 

In this real estate climate, it's just extremely difficult to believe that a property sale was more valuable than a thriving business.

 

Perhaps hard to believe, but the offer of a large payment to buy you out of your lease may be less so and something that requires careful thought.

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