04/01/14 12:30pm

Burnt Ends_700

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: Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: Astoria’s first local, organic, and natural butcher shop opened in 2011 but serves more than just raw meat; it also serves Kansas City-style BBQ.

“Our humble little shop, Butcher Bar is a butcher shop first, and a BBQ restaurant second,” says Matthew Katakis, the restaurant’s founder and Queens native. As a Queens native, Katakis was familiar with the Astoria restaurant scene and pounced on an open space across on 30th Avenue to expand the area’s offerings.

“We wanted to give options to our community and only offer hormone-free, antibiotic-free and pasture-raised-and-grazed animals that were given a humane lifestyle and a respectful death and conversion to our dinner tables,” says Katakis.

The Dish: Burnt Ends have been on the menu of this Astoria BBQ restaurant since its opening. If you want them, arrive early: They are always the first dish to sell out each day. “These ‘meat candy’ are made from the fatty deckle, off the top of the brisket which needs extra smoking time to melt the fat and make it edible,” says Katakis. “Other places end up just cutting it off and throwing it away, but this in fact is a real delicacy.”

The Butcher Bar smokers are running consistently filled with a rotating menu of meats – ribs, pork belly, and sausage among other cuts – but the burnt ends are always on the menu and given special attention. “We smoke them for over 16 hours and add a second rub to them after about 12.5 hours in our smoker,” explains Katakis.

The restaurant’s motto is “Eat less meat, but eat good meat,” but if you want that meat to be Butcher Bar’s burnt ends, you better get to the restaurant before they sell out.

03/11/14 12:30pm

The Thirsty Koala_700

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: The Thirsty Koala, 35-12 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria.

The Deal: Although Queens has one of the most diverse populations in New York City, Australian cuisine has yet to gain a foothold. The Thirst Koala aims to change that. Owner and co-owner Katherine Fuchs says the restaurant prides itself on sourcing local ingredients and building relationships with long-standing purveyors, such as the 100-year-old Caleb Haley in the Fulton Fish Market.

As is the case in cooking non-local cuisine, The Thirsty Koala can’t always use local ingredients and instead uses bush tucker, ingredients indigenous to Australia. Many of the bush tucker ingredients are meats: kangaroo from Queensland, lamb from Queensland and Tasmania, and award-winning beef from the Manning Valley in New South Wales.

The Dish: For diners new to Australian cuisine, Fuchs recommends the appetizer of pasture-fed grilled Australian lamb lollies. Although the restaurant’s aim is to use locally sourced ingredients, the lamb lollies are one of the few dishes to use imported meat. Fuchs imports the lamb to ensure the correct taste.

“I use Australian lamb because I have not found a locally sourced product that compares with its subtle yet robust flavor and tender texture,” she says.

The meat is rubbed with wattle seeds, one of the bush tucker seasonings on the menu.

“Wattle seed has coffee notes, but when used with our lollies it lends a toasty flavor,” Fuchs says. “I serve them with caramelized pumpkin and a small salad of rocket [arugula] and seasonal fruit, which at the moment is pomegranate.”

The combination of local ingredients and bush tucker creates a fresh and unique flavor for guests familiar and new to Australian cuisine.

12/17/13 12:30pm


Welcome to a new 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: Snowdonia Gastropub, 34-55 32nd Street, Astoria.

The deal: Snowdonia is one of Astoria’s newest restaurants, having had its grand opening on October 12th. Located two blocks from the 36th Ave N/Q stop, the pub is situated in a cozy corner space with large windows.

The dish: The signature dishes at Snowdonia are those that take advantage of the quality beers on tap, specifically the Classic Fish & Chips (top) and the Mussels in Beer (below). For the fish and chips, the chefs hand batter the market-fresh fish daily using one of the in-season beers on tap. The mussels are also prepared with locally sourced and Trappist beer, which the pub specializes in.

The pub offers two versions of their signature dish: a smaller version during Happy Hour (4 to 6 pm) and Late Night (12 to 2 am) and an entrée size during dinner (6 pm to 12 am).


12/10/13 12:30pm

Sayras Wine Bar_2_700

Welcome to a new 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.

The spot: Sayra’s Wine Bar, 91-11 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Far Rockaway.

The deal: Sayra’s Wine Bar opened this summer in a space that had been decimated by Hurricane Sandy. The two owners, Rashida Jackson and Patrick Flibotte, are Rockaway Beach residents, who conceived and designed the restaurant. The interior uses reclaimed materials. The restaurant pairs wines with small plates and hosts weekly events such as outdoor movies in the summer and jazz nights.

The dish: Sayra’s Wine Bar relies on recipes passed down from the owners’ families and pairs the dishes with reasonably priced wines. Flibotte’s father shared his recipe for pulled pork sliders and Jackson’s mother donated her recipe for spicy meatballs — see photographs of both dishes after the jump. Both hearty dishes pair well with a Malbec, particularly the bar’s Ernesto Catena ‘Tahuan’ Mendoza, Argentina 2010. The dishes “bring out the notes of black cherry and blackberry in the Malbec,” according to Jackson. Although diners can take the wine recommendations with them when they leave, getting these secret family recipes is off the table.


12/03/13 12:30pm


Welcome to a new Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! A few time a month we’ll check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. To kick things off, we spoke with the folks behind the LIC beer bar Woodbine’s.

The spot: Woodbine’s, 47-10 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

The deal: Woodbine’s is a craft beer bar that recently opened on Vernon Boulevard, the heart of the growing Hunter’s Point community. The pub wants to be part of the community by having enough outlets to let people work and stay connected. The bar owners not only want to provide a variety of craft beers but develop exclusive brews with local breweries. Astoria’s Single Cut brewery has debuted a new partner beer, Burke’s Pale Ale, at Woodbine’s and its sister restaurants The Courtyard Ale, The Kent Ale House and Brickyard Gastropub in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn respectively.

The dish: The Signature Dish at Woodbine’s is the Scotch egg, the perfect complement to the craft beer selection. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and breadcrumbs and then served sliced on a plate with brown mustard. The $5 snack has quickly become the most popular dish because it is light enough to accompany any drink—beer, wine, cocktail or soda.

The snack menu is available at the bars and booths all day.

08/26/13 2:00pm


A new bar named The Baroness is coming to 41-26 Crescent Street, near Queens Plaza in Long Island City. The yellow legal paper taped in the window promises a new locally owned and operated establishment serving “wine, craft beer, flatbreads, cheese, charcuterie, and more.” The new watering hole will be a welcome addition to the blocks north of Queens Plaza, an area that is growing rapidly but currently lacks a neighborhood joint. Tucked in an older building next to two new luxury apartment buildings, the bar seems well-positioned for success. (Packard Square is located next door, and the Crescent Club is across the street.) Queens Plaza South is also seeing a new diner and bar opening soon. Peeking through the windows, work has barely started on the interior, so it could be a while before The Baroness begins pouring drinks for residents and JetBlue employees. Click through for one more photo. GMAP (more…)

08/15/13 2:00pm

An Italian restaurant called Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar opened last weekend at 44-07 on Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside, reported the Sunnyside Post. The 50-seat restaurant emphasizes dishes made with local ingredients. A backyard patio is still under construction and is expected to open in a few weeks.

Forest Hills
DNA Info reports that Bareburger, an organic fast-food spot at 71-49 Austin Street, will be expanding to the space next door. “We are always busy,” said the manager. The move will increase the number of seats to 100 and should be complete by October.

CROM Martial Training, which had been shuttered last year by Hurricane Sandy, reopened earlier this month in the Wave building at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard but is expected to move to a larger space at some point. The husband-and-wife owned business offers a full CrossFit program. The news was reported on the Rockawayist blog.

Temporarily Closed
New Astoria ramen shop Ramen Okidoki is temporarily closed while they repair the damage from a “fire incident.”

On Brownstoner Queens this week, we’ve also blogged about the opening of Buffalo Exchange, a consignment shop in Astoria, and the launch of a wellness center in Sunnyside.


Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments what opened on your street or in your neighborhood.

07/24/13 2:00pm



Don Pollo opened its second location at 41-06 Greenpoint Avenue over the weekend. This Peruvian restaurant focuses on well-seasoned chicken dishes but also serves seafood entrees as well.

The Bohemian Beer Garden held its first weeknight market in partnership with Astoria Market. The event, usually held indoors on Sundays, was shifted outdoors last Wednesday. There are plans for the market to be held on August 15 and September 15 as well.

Enigma Bookshop held its soft opening over the weekend with the first of a series of readings. The sci-fi and fantasy focused bookshop at 33-17 Crescent Street will have its grand opening on August 3.

Mar’s restaurant at 34-21 34th Avenue also had its soft opening, serving cocktails and oysters. The restaurant will soon start serving an American and Mediterranean-influenced menu.

The Laughing Devil comedy club in Hunter’s Point is up for sale. The owners will continue to run the nearly two-year-old venue as a comedy club until a buyer is found.

The Step by Step hardware store at 50-14 Skillman Avenue is closing at the end of July after 20 years due to increasing rent.

Did the heat wave slow openings? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments what opened on your street or in your neighborhood.

Photo: Sunnyside Food

07/17/13 2:00pm


Far Rockaway
The revitalization of the neighborhood continues with the opening of the area’s first and only wine bar, Sayra’s. It will serve wine and beer alongside small plates. The backyard, pictured above, has a projection screen for movies.

Long Island City
Crescent Grill opened at 38-40 Crescent Street, near Queensborough Plaza. The new restaurant will focus on classic American cuisine.

Forest Hills
Buffalo Wild Wings opened one of its largest locations, at 107-16 71st Avenue, site of the former Forest Hills Theatre.

Eater has updated its Queens Heat Map with where to eat now. What do you think of their selections?

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments what happened in your neighborhood.

Photo from Gothamist

05/29/13 11:00am


Long Island City

Sage General Store is installing a bar and will close  until the end of June when it will reopen with a full liquor license and new dinner menu. Owner Leslie Nilsson will also be opening a macaroon bar down the street by the end of August. Sunnyside pub owner, Pat Burke, plans on opening his fourth bar on Vernon Blvd by the end of August. His newest pub, Woodbine’s – named after the cigarettes his grandfather smoked in Ireland – will pour 16 craft beers and serve high-end pub food.


Katch Bar & Grill opened at 3119 Newtown Ave with 50 beers on tap and more than 50 TVs. The beer garden will open soon.


Jack’s Ale House reopened last Saturday at 39-46 Skillman Avenue with festivities that were chased indoors by the storm. The pub, owned by three firefighter brokers, closed two years ago for renovations.


The Nevada Diner opened at 80-26 Queens Boulevard and offer free delivery of its gourmet dinners and baked-on-premises desserts.

The Rockaways

With Memorial Day just over and summer just beginning, Eater did a wrap up of the restaurants open near the now-open Rockaway beach: Rockaway Taco is open and now serving breakfast. Ripper’s on Beach 86 will be open. Caracas Arepas Bar served from a pop-up location at Beach 97th Street and Rockaway freeway and will post updates to their instagram account.


Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments what opened in your neighborhood!

Photo from Mighty Sweet