04/17/14 2:00pm

saigon-cafe-astoria

Saigon Cafe is now serving up Vietnamese food at 25-90 41st Street, off 28th Avenue. We Heart Astoria shares the news, saying that there are iPads at the restaurant to surf the web. As for the food, the menu includes sandwiches, soup, pho, meat and rice plates, Vietnamese coffee, bubble tea, and salty plum soda. So far, the Yelp reviews for the food are quite good.

Vietnamese Food Alert! Saigon Cafe Opens in Astoria [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

04/16/14 4:00pm

queens-beer-week-april

It’s almost here. Queens Beer Week begins this Friday, April 19th and lasts for nine days until Sunday, April 27th. The week offers more than 40 awesome beer events at venues and bars around the borough. Check out the full schedule at the website. This Friday, expect brews from Transmitter Brewing at Crescent and Vine in Astoria, as well as whiskey and beer pairings at Alobar. There will also be a “Taste of Queens” kickoff party at Singlecut Beersmiths from 7 to 11 pm. So, can the week be over yet?

04/16/14 11:30am

arepa-lady-jackson-heights

Thanks to the Jackson Heights Journal Twitter for pointing out the above picture inside the Arepa Lady’s new 300-square-foot restaurant under construction in Jackson Heights. The location in question is 77-02AA Roosevelt Avenue, between 77th and 78th Streets.

According to the Arepa Lady herself — also known as Maria Cano — the hope is to open the spot by the end of this month! She will serve an expanded menu of her food truck offerings, with new meat and vegetable toppings for the arepas. The food truck will be out on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and 79th Street this Friday.

Arepa Lady Will Open Brick and Mortar Restaurant in Jackson Heights [Q'Stoner]

04/15/14 12:30pm

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Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Dutch Kills Centraal, 38-40 29th Street, Long Island City.

The Deal: Dutch Kills Centraal is still a relative newcomer to the poorly underserved area north of Queens Plaza, having just opened last year after two years of planning and construction.

The owner, Dominic Stiller, found the space abandoned two blocks from his home and, as a longtime community activist and Queens resident, wanted to create a place for the neighborhood to gather. So began the renovations: He added additional windows, repaired the walls, and installed reclaimed furniture, including a long communal table down the center of the room. Throughout it all, Stiller kept the original flooring and, of course, the bar that originally drew him in.

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The Dish: Dutch Kills Centraal is a bar, and like any quality bar, the star on the menu is the burger. As Ken Holiday, in charge of marketing for the restaurant, says, “Every gastro-pub should have a burger on the menu. Our food is defiantly more upscale than a bar, but we want a place comfortable to everyone.” Centraal sources its meats and produce from local purveyors, and serves the burger on a butter-glazed brioche bun, topped with a homemade siracha sauce.

“To have a familiar item, in a cozy place, in an area called Dutch Kills makes it taste all the better,” says Holiday. “Elevated comfort, charm, a hospitality is what we aim for.”

04/11/14 4:00pm

Pa2

It took more than three years of extremely hard work to renovate the venue and get the proper city permits, but Pa-Nash Restaurant & Lounge officially opened on April 11 with a joyous atmosphere and free samples of spicy Moroccan meatballs, babaghanoush and the house specialty beverage. Located in Rosedale, between Idelwild Park and the Valley Stream border, this new eatery offers a “Euro Soul” menu that fuses Mediterranean and North African cuisine with Caribbean and Soul Food influences. The menu features everything from herb-crusted lump crab cakes with chive garlic aioli and toasted coconut to almond-crusted salmon and pistachio crumbed lamb chops with rosemary syrup and couscous.

In addition to a sit-down area in an upscale-but-relaxed atmosphere, Pa-Nash also has a 25-foot long bar with two flat-screen televisions, an exhibition space for local artists (below) and a downstairs lounge for live entertainment, including belly-dancing and comedy. Located at 144-14 243rd Street, Pa-Nash is very much a labor of love for the owners, Jamaica natives Annette and Noel Runcie, who have operated a Golden Krust branch in Queens Village for more than a decade.

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Photos: It’s In Queens

04/10/14 2:00pm

sweet-afton-astoria

Earlier today, We Heart Astoria published two very juicy rumors concerning new businesses coming to Astoria. First off, it looks like the bar Sweet Afton (pictured above) plans to open a new gastropub at the old Stamatis Restaurant space, 29-12 23rd Avenue between 29th and 31st streets. The ETA is for this September. Secondly, there’s word that the team behind both Sparrow Tavern (on 29th Street) and Mar’s (on 34th Avenue) signed a lease at 27-20 23rd Avenue, off 28th Street. There’s no news of the concept or the opening date, but We Heart Astoria reports that whatever it is, it’ll be something different that Sparrow Tavern.

Astoria Gossip- Big Changes Coming to 23rd Avenue [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

04/09/14 3:00pm

bourbon-street-bayside

Bourbon Street, the Cajun-style eatery located at 40-12 Bell Boulevard in Bayside, hopes to build out a rooftop bar for the summertime. The Daily News reports that “patrons would dine and drink al fresco in the 2,500-square-foot outdoor seating space, lit with Louisiana lantern-style street lights… there would also be an open-face barbecue pit and raw seafood bar on the roof.” Sounds lovely! There aren’t any other rooftop bars like it in the neighborhood. The owner of Bourbon Street hopes to open the space by the restaurant’s 15th anniversary, which is this summer. They still do not have approval from the New York State Liquor Authority or the Department of Buildings.

First Rooftop Bar Planned for Bustling Bayside Boulevard [NY Daily News] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

04/08/14 4:00pm

mumbar-restaurant-astoria

Today the Village Voice compiled a list of the five best restaurants in Little Egypt, the short stretch of Steinway Street between Astoria Boulevard and 28th Avenue. The top picks? Kabab Cafe at 25-12 Steinway Street (one of the most popular Egyptian spots on Steinway), Mombar at 25-22 Steinway Street (run by the brother of Kabab Cafe’s owner), Duzan at 24-11 Steinway Street (known for its fast food-like service), Sabry’s at 24-25 Steinway Street and Zeit W Zatar (for dessert) at 25-78 Steinway Street. Now we’re hungry…

The Five Best Restaurants in Little Egypt [Village Voice]

Photo via Yelp

04/08/14 2:00pm

yelp-drinks-queens

Thanks to We Heart Astoria for pointing us in the direction of Yelp Drinks Queens, a Yelp event taking place all this week offering discounted drinks to Queens bar hoppers. Check out the full list of participating bars right here — businesses include the Mosaic Cafe (pictured above), O’Neill’s Maspeth, Station House, Z Hotel and the Astor Room. (You can also see all the locations on this handy map.) Basically just visit any of the participating businesses during normal business hours until April 13th, ask for the Yelp Drinks menu, and get discounts up to 50 percent off. Nice!

Photo via Yelp

04/08/14 12:30pm

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Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Zenon Taverna, 34-10 31st Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: The Greek restaurant Zenon Taverna, located in the heart of Astoria, has been under the management of the same family since 1988. Stelios Papageorgiou trained as a chef in his native Cyprus and, after immigrating, wanted to serve “the food from his mother country to Astoria,” says his daughter and one of the managers, Elena Papageorgiou. “We strive to transport our customers to a taverna in Cyprus, for them to experience and enjoy it as if they were there.”

After 26 years, additional family members have stepped in to help in various roles from serving to managing to cooking, but Stelios is still active in the running of the restaurant. “He does all the ordering himself and goes to the markets to pick out things like our seafood,” Elena explains. “My father has tried to keep our prices as low as possible while still keeping the best quality.”

When customers need more than just a meal, Zenon Taverna also has a banquet room and offers catering services. Also be sure to follow the restaurant’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for rotating specials. Be sure to bring cash though; another traditional aspect of this taverna is that they don’t accept credit cards.

The Dish: For an authentic Cyprus dish, stop by Zenon Taverna on a Thursday or Sunday to try the Kleftico, a lamb entrée served with potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, herbs, and spices. “The folk story, as my father knows it, says Kleftico got its name from the word kleftes, which is Greek for robbers,” says Elena. “Robbers would steal lamb from farmers, and go somewhere far from the village to cook it so they wouldn’t be seen. They would dig a hole in the ground, skin, and cut up the meat. In this hole they would put firewood and start up some fire. They would put the meat and seasoning back into the lamb skin, and seal it tightly. They would then put the lamb in the hole, and cover it with dirt for the lamb to roast. They would return the next day to feast upon it.”

The taverna’s modern version eschews the robbery and dirt hole for wax paper and aluminum foil although the cooking concept remains the same: Keep the meat tightly sealed and allow it to cook in its own juice for many hours. Each serving is wrapped separately to keep the juice from escaping. Come early to try this dish because quantities are limited.

Elena says, “Although the recipe is a traditional one, in Cyprus, my father never put the vegetables (carrots, celery, onion); this was something he added when making it here at the restaurant.”