The Toubia family signed a deal for new space for their Piccadilly Market & Grill this week, and it happens to be at their old Chelsea’s Bar and Grill space in Comotara Center at 29th North and Rock Road.
If you think this sounds familiar, that’s because last month the family announced that it’s moving its Olive Tree Catering to the former Olive Tree Bistro banquet hall, next to the former Chelsea’s.
“It feels comforting,” Randa Toubia says. “It’s comforting to know that is just turned out to be the best fit.”
That’s not how she initially viewed it. She and Joumana Toubia say they shied away a bit at first.
“I said I was going to have to top what was in there,” Randa Toubia says of the former Chelsea’s. “I’m not going to be able to top that in any way.”
Chelsea’s and its wood-beamed interior had been the dream of their late brother, Antoine.
“Before, it was just all Antoine’s visions and Antoine’s eyes,” Randa Toubia says. “It was a landmark. It was beautiful.”
The space has suffered in recent years and doesn’t look as it once does, she says. Even six years ago, Toubia says, there were maintenance issues that led to disagreements with the landlord at the time.
“It’s a mess compared to what it was,” Toubia says.
She says her fear initially was that now “it doesn’t have Antoine’s touch.”
Then she and her sister and their other brother, Naji, began discussing how to reinvent Piccadilly, right down to the name, which they’ve not yet decided on.
“Now I look at it totally different,” Toubia says. “Now I saw what can be different. It’s going to have a totally different personality.”
There will be counter-style ordering instead of table-side ordering for lunch. The restaurant initially will be open for lunch and dinner, and breakfasts will be added later.
There will be some gourmet items for sale, but only the kind the Toubias use for gift baskets. There won’t as many grocery items.
Piccadilly, including a restaurant and gourmet market, has been in 20,000 square feet atPiccadilly Square at Central and Rock Road since 1989.
The Toubias’ landlord is wanting to do something new with the space, and the Toubias say they don’t mind moving. They need less room than they once did, and they said the maintenance issues on the aging building are a lot to handle while trying to run their businesses.
Their new Comotara spaces total 14,000 square feet.
The grill’s last day in business at Central and Rock Road is Sunday. Its brunches will move to the Olive Tree banquet space starting Oct. 11 if things go as planned.
The deli will be open through Oct. 9.
The Toubias started looking for new space about a year ago.
“Every time there was a place worth investigating, we were there,” Joumana Toubia says.
They kept returning to the former Chelsea’s space.
“I did not see a structure as beautiful as that building.”
Don Piros of Landmark Commercial Real Estate and Don Ablah of Classic Real Estatehandled the deal.
The Toubias say they think Antoine Toubia would approve of the move, which will happen sometime in early November.
“He would see a continuation of what he started,” Randa Toubia says. “Things have changed, and it’s definitely not the same.”
Nor do they want it to be, she says.
“We’re going to learn how to sell ourselves better,” Randa Toubia says. “Someone told me that you need to toot your horn a little bit more, a little bit louder.”
There was a time when the Toubias didn’t have to worry about that because there were far fewer restaurants and specialty grocery stores in the city than there are now.
Randa Toubia says they’re also going to try to learn to delegate more and stick to overseeing their businesses instead of doing the labor themselves.
“That’s the plan.”
There’s one thing Joumana Toubia still wants to do herself at her current space if the landlord decides to build a new building there.
“I think if they do decide to demolish, I want to be here to hit the crane.”
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