09/30/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: Oliver’s Astoria, 37-19 Broadway, Astoria.

The Deal: Over the last year, the site of a former French restaurant on Broadway in Astoria has become the bustling craft beer gastropub. A main focus of Oliver’s Astoria has been making the restaurant a friendly neighborhood location, through its décor, events and provisioning.

On a warm Friday afternoon, the windows and doors are thrown open so the inside restaurant blends into the outdoor café, and plenty of patrons are idling over a late lunch and one of the rotating tap beers.

Oliver’s has a one-and-done keg policy that keeps the selection fresh and new. Although co-founder and general manager Rob Williamson says that it is more work than a typical bar, it’s helpful for bringing in special brewery guests and appealing to beer fans. The next guest brewery will be Dogfish Head on Thursday, October 9th.

“I’ve worked in beer bars forever,” he says. “The spectrum of beer is fantastic. Not all of them are winners but when they hit, they hit.”

To further the local vibe, Williamson says the restaurant works with local businesses to meet the menu needs. They purchase from the butcher and baker on the block.

“It’s always easier to shop in your backyard,” he says.

Oliver’s continues to expand its offerings and events, from Monday night trivia to brunch with $3 cocktails. The brunch menu has recently expanded to weekdays to accommodate Astoria’s large population of restaurant industry employees.

Read about Oliver’s Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

09/23/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: Brick Café, 30-95 33rd Street, Astoria.

The Deal: Brick Café, serving fresh Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, has been a mainstay of the Astoria community for 15 years but joined the Hells Kitchen Hospitality Group in July.

Despite the change in ownership, most of what has made this restaurant so enduring will stay the same. The staff, many of whom have been with the restaurant for at least five years, will still treat customers like family, and Chef Willie is still running the kitchen.

“We treat each other like family,” says Zoran, manager. “We know their names and families. People celebrate their special days here.”

Changes — such as a daily brunch and Wine Wednesday ($5 a glass and $25 bottles on select wines) — are designed to complement and not compete with the restaurant’s ethos.

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Read about Brick Cafe’s Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

09/17/14 2:00pm

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El Coyote, part of a small chain of Mexican restaurants, just celebrated its grand opening in Forest Hills. Edge of the City reports that it replaced Garcia’s, in the upper level of the retail complex at 70-09 Austin Street. This is the second El Coyote outpost for Queens; the first is in Jackson Heights.

Late last year the owners told DNAinfo they planned for a slightly different menu that catered toward locals, alongside favorites like enchiladas and fajitas. (Here’s the menu for the Jackson Heights location.) The spot is open for both lunch and dinner.

El Coyote Opens [Edge of the City] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

09/15/14 4:00pm

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Hungry? Would you like to enjoy a delicious meal and help others at the same time? Or are you ready to experience a wonderful taste of winter without getting cold? This Thursday, the Snowday food truck (above) will stop outside the Clock Tower at Dutch Kills Green and serve delicious, maple-themed lunches, including maple grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonal salads, beer-batted maple onion rings, and maple apple cupcakes. More information and photos after jump.

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09/15/14 2:00pm

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Tomorrow marks the grand opening of Tacuba Cantina Mexicana, Astoria’s newest Latin American restaurant at 35-01 36th Street. The folks at We Heart Astoria broke down the menu, which includes guacamole, peruano (a Peruvian style ceviche), empanadas, carnitas tacos and Mariscada en Molcajete (shrimp, octopus, clams, tilapia and cilantro rice). The menu will also feature a large collection of tequilas and mezcal, as well as cocktails with fresh fruit.

Tacuba is the work of Chef Julian Medina, who also worked at the NYC restaurants Toloache, Yerba Buena and Coppelia. Hours will be Monday through Thursday, 11:30 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:30 am to 2:00 am and Sunday, 11:30 am to 11 pm.

Some Things to Look Forward to at Tacuba [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

09/11/14 2:00pm

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Now under construction in the Rockaways: Rockaway Roasters, a coffee cafe at 92-06 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The Facebook page promises gourmet coffee (hot and cold), espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, an organic juice bar and more. It’ll be open seven days a week. There’s no official opening date yet, but it’s scheduled for the fall or winter of this year. GMAP

Photo via Facebook

09/10/14 2:00pm

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Lookin’ good! The owners of the Ridgewood cafe Norma’s are making serious progress on their beer-focused bar and restaurant at 818 Woodward Avenue, near Cornelia Street. Dubbed Julia’s, it should hopefully open in late September. There will be a good selection of New York-made beers as well as a menu with charcuterie and cheese plates. (The meat will come from Morscher’s, a neighborhood institution.) Check out one more interior shot after the jump, and keep up-to-date with Julia’s progress on Facebook. GMAP

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09/09/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: Snowdonia, 34-55 32nd Street, Astoria.

The Deal: For any quality gastropub, the beer selection is a top priority. It follows then that Oktoberfest would be the biggest holiday. Or at least that’s the case at the Astoria gastropub Snowdonia, which has launched a new prix fixe menu for the holiday.

“Oktoberfest is our favorite holiday, in no small part because it primarily features beer, amazing Bavarian food, and more beer,” says Matthew Callahan, the community manager at the restaurant.

There are five main dishes, each served with two sides for $15. Choices for the main include Bratwurst with sauerkraut; Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet); Sauerbraten (wine-marinated beef roast); Rouladen (flank steak stuffed with bacon, onions and pickles); and Hasenpfeffer, while the sides on offer are German potato salad, braised red cabbage, spaetzle, or green beans.

“Traditionally Oktoberfest starts in late September and runs through October,” says Callahan. “We’re starting a bit early and running it for six weeks because the menu is just that awesome.”

Read about the Oktoberfest-themed Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

09/08/14 2:00pm

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Last Thursday, Vivire Bar opened up shop at 41-21 Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside. As Sunnyside Post points out, it’s a stretch known for lots of empty storefronts — Vivire replaced the vacant Lowery Medical Care space. While the owner initially planned to open a sports bar here that focused on soccer, he changed his mind and decided to cater to young professionals in the neighborhood. Vivire offers a selection of wines, scotch, craft beers, seasonal cocktails and a happy hour special from noon to 7 pm.

Vivire, a Greenpoint Ave. Bar, Opened Last Week [Sunnyside Post]
A Sports Bar Is Slated for Sunnyside [Q'Stoner] GMAP

09/04/14 2:00pm

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The uber-hip music venue Trans-Pecos, located at 915 Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood, has a lot going for it this upcoming fall season. Brooklyn Vegan posted an update from the owners, who say that “Trans-Pecos’ full liquor license is in process to be issued by the New York State Liquor Authority, and was recently approved by Queens Community Board 5.” The venue will have a dry period this month, starting September 13th, before the liquor license is issued. Trans-Pecos also opened the El Camino Cafe last month inside the venue, and it’s open from most days from noon to 8 pm. Hours are expected to expand soon. And finally, the backyard space was just fully renovated with “custom wood tables and stools, patio tiki lighting, and plant life.” It’ll be open as a bar area once the liquor license comes through.

For a list of upcoming music shows here, check out Brooklyn Vegan. GMAP

Photo by Ridgefood via Twitter