Athens Tavern? Does the name ring a bell? It opened less than a year ago to much hype, considered a potential rival to Anthos as the city’s most ambitious Greek restaurant. Chef Yiannis Baxevanis was the only Michelin-starred Greek chef not named Michael Psilakis, and the only one who actually had a restaurant in Greece. A Queens tipster reports that the restaurant has been closed a week, but owner Nikos Gregoriou insists that Athens Tavern is shuttered only temporarily while a new dishwasher is installed. "We will be open in a week," he says. "We just had to change some machinery." But our neighborhood source says neither the staff nor the vendors have been paid recently, and that there is major strife between Gregoriou and his partner. Moreover, Baxevanis appears to have left: He's currently working at a restaurant in Dubai. Gregoriou confirms that Baxevanis is gone (and has been replaced with an unnamed "lady") but was indignant when asked about owing staff and vendors money: "You come in and eat dinner with me next week, and then you can ask me those questions."
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