Bronxites hungry for a good meal will have to look no further than the new I-Hop Restaurant at the New Horizons Shopping Mall.
Domenic Broccoli, the former owner of Gino’s Café, transformed his former establishment at 817 Allerton Avenue into an I-Hop a year- and-a-half ago. Now, he has opened another location of the popular national chain. A grand opening celebration was held on Tuesday, May 12, following a ribbon-cutting the day before.
Broccoli hired over 100 Bronxites for the new resturant, most of whom live in the immediate area. He said he was excited that the neighborhood has embraced the new dining spot.
“The community is excited about it because there are no restaurants nearby,” Broccoli said. “People are saying that they have been asking the landlord to bring an I-Hop to the mall for a long time.”
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. attended a warm-up opening on Monday, May 11, where he was among the first to dine, along with Community Board 3 district manager John Dudley and chairwoman Gloria Alston and other dignitaries. Diaz and Broccoli cut a ribbon at the new restaurant, located in the 133,296 square-foot mall at E. 174th Street and Vyse Avenue after Diaz finished his meal.
“It looks so visually beautiful and sends a clear message that the Bronx is a pleasant place,” Diaz said. “At this particular location, over 100 jobs have been created and most of the employees live in the Bronx and in the immediate area. It is a place where people can go to be with their familes to celebrate special occasions.”
Dudley said that the new I-Hop will help alleviate concerns that there are is not enough high-end retail and restaurants in the area, and create much needed jobs.
“It brings a wonderful national resturant chain to Crotona Park East, and it is something that we have not seen here before,” Dudley said. “I-Hop is a magnet. It will draw people from outside of the district and bring more patrons to the mall.”
Many of the staff members were trained before the dining establishment’s opening at Broccoli’s other location on Allerton Avenue. They were excited during the dry-run opening as people working in the mall and living nearby were treated to meals on the house.
“I think the restaurant is good for the community,” said manager Rosie Arana. “I think it is great that we are working to rebuild this part of the Bronx.”
The restaurant will be open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., excecpt on Friday and Saturday when it will remain open until midnight. To reach the restaurant call (718) 860-4467.
©2009 Community News Group