08/26/14 11:00am

Maspeth isn’t a location many associate with DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), a founding father who served as NY State Assemblyman, NYS Senator, NYS Governor, US Senator and NYC Mayor during an illustrious career capped by his indefatigable support for the Erie Canal. Several streets around town were named for him, including Maspeth’s own Clinton Avenue, and when Green-Wood Cemetery opened in Brooklyn in 1838 his remains were later exhumed from the original burial plot in Albany, NY and moved to Brooklyn — as a tourist attraction for the nascent burial park.

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NYS Governor DeWitt Clinton lived in Maspeth for several decades in this house that had stood near Newtown Creek. Judge Joseph Sackett built a two-story wood frame mansion with porches around both levels in the area behind Clinton Hall (pictured after the jump) in 1750. During the Revolutionary War the house was occupied by American physician and general, Joseph Warren, and British Gen. William Howe planned an invasion of NYC via Newtown Creek from the mansion after its capture. (more…)

08/22/14 2:00pm

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Yesterday, Forest Hills got a new fancy Italian joint. Tazzina opened at 102-15 Metropolitan Avenue, off 71st Avenue. DNAinfo previously reported that the chef, who has appeared on the TV show “Chopped,” moved the restaurant from its original location in Glendale to accommodate more patrons. This Forest Hills space seats around 50, with 15 more spots at the bar. An outdoor patio area will open next year.

There are two menus for both the bar and the restaurant. The focus is old-school Italian with a twist, and dishes include gnocchi, mussels, pastas, risottos, steaks and fish. (The bar menu will feature more small plates, including bruschetta and meatball parm sliders.) Check out awesome photos of the space and the opening night party right over here. GMAP

Photo by Elena D’Este Photography via Facebook

08/21/14 2:00pm

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The other week, we snapped a photo of a commercial space under construction at 29-12 23rd Avenue, between 29th and 31st Streets in Astoria. It’s a work-in-progress by the owners of Sweet Afton, a popular Astoria bar. We Heart Astoria shares details that this bar outpost will be called The Bonnie. The space has been under construction for about three months and the owners hope to open later this year. We Heart Astoria gives the impression that the interior will be very much transformed — can’t wait to see the final product.

The Bonnie on 23rd Avenue Will Open Later This Year [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

08/19/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: fresk’o, 31-19 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: The newest frozen yogurt shop in Astoria, which opened June 1st, is nestled between a Baskin Robbins and a 16 Handles on 30th Avenue. The independently owned fresk’o sets itself apart through owner Gus Prentzas’ dedicated search for the perfect frozen yogurt and Greek yogurt flavors.

Prentzas is from Greece, where his grandparents and great grandparents owned a farm with sheep and goats and yogurt was a staple on the dinner tables. He translated that love of fresh and wholesome flavors into a three-and-a-half-year endeavor to find the ultimate frozen yogurt flavor. Fresk’o even translates from Greek to mean “fresh.”

The Greek heritage also influenced the shop’s location in Astoria, considered the heart of the Greek community. The frozen yogurt shop has already generated a large Greek following. Café tables outside attract a crowd on a warm afternoon, and Prentzas is in full swing greeting customers. “When someone walks in, they’re a customer, but they leave a friend,” he says.

In addition to the traditional frozen yogurt shop set up with soft serve fro-yo and a wide selection of nuts, chocolates, and fruits (bought fresh daily) as toppings, fresk’o also serves up a creamy Greek yogurt made from a combination of cow and goat’s milk and served with olive oil, walnuts, or Greek honey. With Greek yogurt for breakfast and frozen for dessert, the two options fulfill the shop’s motto of “Once a day is never enough.” The shop’s 10 am to midnight hours mean there are plenty of opportunities to come multiple times a day.

As the temperatures drop, Prentzas plans on adding waffles and hot cocoa to the menu.

Read about the Signature Dish from fresk’o after the jump… (more…)

08/18/14 2:00pm

cafe-bene-ditmars-astoria Caffe Bene, a Korean coffee chain, has picked up on the coffee craze in Astoria. Astoria Post writes that the cafe will open two outposts in the neighborhood next month: one at 32-14 Steinway Street, off Broadway, and another at 30-31 Ditmars Boulevard (pictured), off 37th Street. The cafes will serve traditional offerings — coffee, hot and cold beverages, pastries, sandwiches, waffles, gelato — as well as a selection of Korean food items. The Steinway cafe will be 1,960 square feet and the Ditmars cafe will come in at 1,770 square feet.

The chain opened up in Sunnyside in May, and there’s another location in Flushing. Do you think these locations will see good business with all the local coffee spots now open in Astoria?

Caffe Bene Set to Open its Two Astoria Stores Next Month [Astoria Post]

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The folks behind Mu Ramen, the very popular ramen shop that originally operated out of Bricktown Bagel in Long Island City, are making progress on their brick and mortar restaurant. Yesterday Eater published an interior rendering of the space, which is located at 12-09 Jackson Avenue, between 48th Avenue and 47th Road. The opening date? Hopefully around late September, or October at the latest. The restaurant has been under construction all this summer.

Most importantly, there’s now a menu to peek at. It includes a selection of steamed buns, mussels, deep fried chicken wings, spicy miso and of course ramen. One or two dishes on the sample menu may change before the grand opening. Salivating yet?

Glimpse the Menu for Mu Ramen’s Triumphant Return [Eater]
All Mu Ramen coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering via Mu Ramen

08/14/14 2:00pm

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It’s a good day for coffee lovers in Western Queens, as Astoria Coffee opened its doors at 30-04 30th Street, off 30th Avenue. The business began as a whole bean delivery service; this is its first brick and mortar location. The menu includes not just coffee, but also tea and baked goods. A liquor license for wine and beer is still pending, so until then the cafe’s tentative closing time will be 8 pm. Today, it’ll be open until 5 pm as a special preview day for subscribers and social media followers. (And drinks are $1 off!)

This Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm, Astoria Coffee is offering a public tasting at the cafe with one of its roasters from Cincinnati, Ohio. They’ll be closed this Friday to prepare for the tasting, then closed on Sunday because the space will be used as a film set. The official grand opening is set for Monday.

All Astoria Coffee coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

Photo via Twitter

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L’Inizio Pizzeria opened its doors last week at 7-23 Vernon Boulevard, between 51st and Borden avenues. We Heart LIC writes that the owners have a focus on local, organic ingredients and an environmentally conscious and comfortable space. Here are details on the interior: “In the space they use LED lighting and energy efficient ductless air conditioning, energy efficient pizza ovens (Veroforno), and the flooring and wall materials are made from reclaimed materials.”

As for the menu, there are salads, signature and classic pies, calzones, cured meats, homemade cheeses and desserts. Pies include the Boschetto (cremini mushrooms, fontina, white truffle oil, fior di latte and cherry tomatoes), Barese (homemade sausage, Gaeta olives, mozzarella, baby kale, shaved grana and extra virgin olive oil) and the Pa Ta Ta (yukon gold potatoes, pancetta, rosemary, caramelized onions, fior di latte and extra virgin olive oil). Desserts include a daily gelato from Laboratorio Del gelato, mini cannolis and tiramisu. The spot is open 12 pm through 9 pm every day of the week. Looks delicious!

L’Inizio Pizzeria Is Open [We Heart LIC] GMAP

Photo via L’Inizio

08/12/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: Bunker, 46-63 Metropolitan Avenue, Ridgewood.

The Deal: Sometimes, as they say, the best-laid plans just go awry. The original plan for the rather industrial location on Metropolitan was for a fish distribution company called Fish & Ship. Then Hurricane Sandy flooded the space. Then a business partner, and the fish connection, had to back out. So what to do with this address that TK Adam refers to as “the curse and the blessing”?

Fortunately Jimmy Tu, the executive chef, and Jacky Tu, the sous chef, had been sitting on an idea: “Quality Vietnamese food,” says Adam. “The exotic yet accessible flavors of Vietnam, the street food that they loved, but elevated with quality ingredients. Bunker was born out of belief and out of survival instinct.”

But where new ideas and delicious food goes, attention soon follows. Bunker first drew the attention of locals, and then the food blogs and then The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The Food Network and others.

“Through hard work, perseverance, sacrifice, and just plain luck, Bunker has been a destination spot for the better part of a year now,” Adam says. “We have a loyal, ever-expanding customer base willing to trek from all over to a middle-of-nowhere restaurant with nothing to entertain them within miles as they tough out torturous wait times. And for that, we are so grateful and so thankful.”

Read about the Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

08/11/14 2:00pm

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Astoria has a lovely new cafe on the corner of Ditmars and 36th Street — it’s called 60 Beans. We Heart Astoria checked the place out, which is gorgeously designed with “lots of wood, marble, leather, and tile.” There is both indoor and outdoor seating, with big windows looking out onto Ditmars. The coffee and tea selection looks extensive, with drip and pour over coffee, cold brew coffee on tap, and a selection of black, green and herbal teas. Pastries include Dough donuts from Brooklyn, sticky buns, and a variety of croissants.

We Heart Astoria reports that the spot was plenty busy this morning. 60 Beans offers a “Buy 9 drinks, get the 10th free” punch card; today they are double punching the card to celebrate the grand opening.

60 Beans is Open! [We Heart Astoria]
All 36-02 Ditmars Boulevard coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

Photo via We Heart Astoria