Brad Brigati and his business partner Gene Vilgrey were interested in leaving the business world and buying a restaurant or bar. As put by Brigati, who worked in real estate until recently, they were looking for something a little bit more comfortable.
“Running La Cue is a lot more fun than real estate,” he said. “It’s a big change.”
The two owners, both Queens natives, just bought the bar two weeks ago, but they already have big plans for the pool hall and restaurant.
“This place already has a nice, working-class crowd, but when we talk to our customers, we hear them say that they want a place that skews a little older,” he said.
Of course, Bragati won’t be catering to the silver-haired hustlers fresh from the senior center, though he certainly wouldn’t mind.
“I understand that a lot of kids come hang out here, and that’s great, but we want this to be a place where 23 year olds can come to mingle with other 23 year olds,” he explained
In Brigati’s eyes, the first step to reaching out to a slightly older crowd is to remove the half-dozen arcade games that line the front of the establishment and replace them with a lounge area full of comfy chairs and dim lighting.
Other changes the new owners have made include expanding the hot food menu, instituting drink specials, bringing in tables for the popular college sport “beer pong,” and of course, lowering prices.
“Everything is 25 percent less expensive than it used to be,” said Brigati.
The new owners also hope to reestablish La Cue as a venue for music, be it for DJ’s or live bands. The space came equipped with a DJ booth, and they hope to make a space for local bands to play a few tunes as well. In fact, once the lounge area is built, they will be holding two grand opening nights the week after Labor Day.
But above all, Brigati and Vilgrey want to be good neighbors.
“We want to make it a nice neighborhood place,” said Brigati. “We’re Queens people and we want to be good for the community.”