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Dmitri’s, the Queen Village classic BYOB, has closed for good

Owner Dmitri Chimes will keep the Greek seafood going as he plans to reopen his Northern Liberties location.

Dmitri's is pictured in Philadelphia's Queen Village neighborhood on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018.
Dmitri's is pictured in Philadelphia's Queen Village neighborhood on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer / TIM TAI / Staff Photographer

Dmitri’s — the Greek seafood restaurant in Queen Village that helped usher in an era of casual BYOB dining nearly three decades ago — closed last weekend, owner Dmitri Chimes said.

Dmitri’s Northern Liberties location, meanwhile, closed Oct. 13 and will reopen in December, he said.

“Business was fine," Chimes told The Inquirer about the flagship location at Third and Catharine Streets, a jam-packed, 25-seat dining room with an open kitchen where many Philadelphians had their first encounter with octopus and fresh fish grilled over charcoal.

“The main issues were labor and my building,” which Chimes said was dated.

Chimes said he has been having trouble finding qualified kitchen help since the departures of the longtime workers from the Hmong community, who one by one have been retiring. He said structural problems needed to be repaired, including a persistent leak that led to issues during heavy rains. He said he intends to meet with his landlord to discuss its future. For now, it is closed.

UPDATE 11/10/19: Chimes said the closing was permanent. He said he would look for a new location nearby.

The Northern Liberties location, which opened in 2010 at 944 N. Second St., will reopen with his daughter in charge, he said. That location closed pending a renovation to the exterior of the building.

Dmitri’s opened in the former Jerry’s in January 1990. It was simple, cash-only, and decorated on a budget — tile floors, wooden tables and chairs, an open kitchen fronted by an antique marble counter that was previously the soda fountain.

From 2000 to 2014, Chimes owned a third Dmitri’s (at 23rd and Pine, where Cotoletta is now), as well as a tapas restaurant in Washington Square West called Pamplona.

This article has been updated to reflect the permanent closure, per Chimes.