Psilakis Seeks Site for a Late-Night Downtown Restaurant — and a New Dona

Kefi, the uptown, early-evening version.
Kefi, the uptown, early-evening version.haha Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux for New York Magazine

You might think that Michael Psilakis would have had enough of opening restaurants: In the past year, he created Kefi on the Upper West Side, a low-end sensation, and midtown’s Anthos, a major undertaking. Now the chef tells us that he’s looking to open not one but two more restaurants. “I’ve been thinking about opening something downtown,” he says. “I don’t know if it would be another restaurant just like Kefi, or maybe something a little more in between Kefi and Anthos. I want a presence down there, but a lot depends on the space, the lease, and the location.” Psilakis likes the idea of a late-night dining scene, presumably along the lines of Ssäm Bar. There’s no question about the food, though: “It would be Greek, for sure, whatever it was.”

Meanwhile, the search for a new home for Dona continues. Since the original restaurant was forced out by its landlord, Psilakis and partner Donatella Arpaia have been looking high and low. But the parameters of this project are much more exacting than those of the one downtown. “It’s going to be harder. It has to be kind of a regal space,” he says. “And that’s a lot more difficult to find.” With the astronomical costs of commercial real estate right now, it might not even be affordable when they do find it. But the partners say that they’ll keep looking.