09/30/14 4:00pm

queens-a-culinary-passport Andrea Lynn’s book “Queens: A Culinary Passport: Exploring Ethnic Cuisine in New York City’s Most Diverse Borough” was just released today — all interested Queens foodies can pick it up on Amazon. The book is a guide to more than 40 borough restaurants and food carts; it also includes chef profiles and favorite recipes. Here’s more from the summary: “Also included are highlights of not-to-be-missed hidden spots, like ethnic grocery stores stocked with Greek essentials, fish markets that boast of visitors like chef Lidia Bastianich, and delis that turn out freshly made mozzarella and sopressata.”

The book details subway directions and offers walking tours of each neighborhood for those who aren’t familiar with certain areas of Queens. The author, who also works as a freelance food writer and recipe developer, lives in Astoria.

09/30/14 2:00pm

elmhurst-restaurant-rowThe restaurants at Elmhurst’s new “Restaurant Row,” a formerly vacant lot next door to the Queens Center Mall, plan to open in October. DNAinfo writes that an Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Joe’s Crab Shack are all hiring workers, then the Olive Garden is scheduled to open October 27th and the Longhorn Steakhouse will open October 11th. There’s no set date for Joe’s Crab Shack yet.

The Mattone Group started construction on the new development earlier this year. (Their original plans called for a movie theater here, but it fell through.) The “restaurant row” plans caused controversy with local pols, who believed the developers weren’t upfront about the development to the community. There was also concern about increased traffic in the area.

Eateries in Elmhurst’s New ‘Restaurant Row’ Begin Hiring [DNAinfo]
Restaurant Row Proposal for Vacant Elmhurst Lot Sparks Controversy [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Katie Honan for DNAinfo

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…)