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Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

Retailing on the Edge

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment
From The NY Times:
N.Y. / Region
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: November 12, 2010
Some residents lament the arrival of Duane Reade and Starbucks in Williamsburg’s main shopping district.

Homefront on Austin

Sounds to me like the Williamsburg folks are getting a bit ahead of themselves. If they want to see a good example of how chains came into a charming neighborhood loaded with independent stores and the two have learned to live nicely side-by-side they should journey on down to Park Slope.

Here in FoHi? Not so much. I think Austin is heavily outweighed by retail chains. And the independents we do have tend to be cell phone stores, hair salons, women’s clothing boutiques and optical stores. We can use some more quaint, creative independent shops in town. I always point to Homefront as an example of a charming little independent that gives Forest Hills that little special something.

Chic No More

November 3, 2010 1 comment

Sadly, the cute little purveyor of make-your-own salads, tasty soups and supposedly free wi-fi, Chic & Green, near the corner of Queens Blvd. and 72nd Road, has called it quits. A visit to the place this afternoon revealed quite a sad and lonely little empty storefront where all that healthy fare used to be doled out of. This is disappointing, as Forest Hills most desperately needs a make-your-own salad place! We are like one of the only neighborhoods in New York City without one now. What is so hard about this? Chic’s biggest problem no doubt was its location. 72nd Road is not the most well-traversed part of our shopping district and a salad and soup place needs heavy foot traffic for its food to stay fresh. It would be nice if Chic reopened somewhere else in town.

Some Restaurant News

October 25, 2010 2 comments

Piu Bello's old location. A seafood restaurant is under construction there.

In case you haven’t heard, Piu Bello Gelato, the popular restaurant/ice cream/dessert place that used to be at the corner of Austin St. and 70th Avenue, is in the process of taking over the entire Positano italian restaurant, located just a hop, skip and a jump from Piu Bello’s old location, across from the Post Office at the corner of 70th Ave. and what I guess would be called a service road to Queens Blvd. Piu Bello had been tucked in the back of the Positano restaurant for the past several months. It should be interesting to see what PB does with its new digs.

In other restaurant news, I hear Wafas, the Mediterranean restaurant at 96-08 72nd Ave/Metropolitan is moving to a bigger space. What I heard is that it will be on Metropolitan somewhere but if you know differently, please let us all know by posting a comment. Wafas has a reputation for some of the best falafel in Forest Hills, though I have yet to try it so I can’t personally confirm! Here is their menu, a little hard to read, but I think you can just make it out:

Here’s a Dinner Idea

October 8, 2010 2 comments

Looking for a good place to eat this weekend? A reader told me that Forest Hills’ very own Danny Brown Wine Bar is a recipient of a 2011 Michelin Star! Read more about it at Grub Street New York:  Michelin Stars Announced

Morning Coffee

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

The homestead is being battered this morning by gusty winds from the tropical storm moving up the coast. I hope the old shanty holds together after the pounding it received a couple of weeks ago.

From one of my favorite meteorologists (yes, I admit it, I have a favorite meteorologist – major geek here) :

The eastern arm of rain that was drenching New York City is moving north, so they will probably have a significant period with little or no rain today. However, as the north-south river of moisture moves slowly eastward, the risk of heavy rain in Philadelphia, and then New York City, will increase.

Aside from that, here’s a little news:

On a lighter note, our annual Fall Street Fair returns this Sunday all along Austin!

By the way, if you have a chance, check out this blog’s new Local Shopping page and add to it as you see fit. It’s just getting started. And don’t forget the Local Restaurants page either. If you have recently discovered a store or restaurant in our area that you really love, I for one would love to hear about it, and I am sure so would the blog’s readers.

Lunchtime in the Hills

September 23, 2010 7 comments

Just some stuff I noticed today during a nice walk around Forest Hills on this delightful Indian-Summerish day:

The empty space on 71st Continental, near Queens Blvd., is being filled by another optical store.

Some before and after tornado shots of the Queens County Savings Bank on Queens Blvd.

The Queens County Savings Bank on Queens Blvd. right after the tornado...

... and the Queens County Savings Bank today.

And the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot has busted out all over town!

Oh, and one other thing…. what is with the Fay Da Bakery, over near the T-Bone Diner? I walked in there and it was P- A – C – K – E – D !!!!! Is the place that good? Just what have I been missing all these years?

Eat Pray, Well Actually Just Pray

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Need a place to worship this Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?  How about the former home of the La Terrazza restaurant near the Midway Theater? It has been temporarily converted to a synagogue for the holidays. Now, that’s an innovative use of one of our abandoned storefronts!

Common? Anything But

August 28, 2010 2 comments

I paid a quick visit to the new tapas lounge/restaurant Common last night, in the Austin St. mall, and, while we did not stick around to have anything to eat or drink, we were quite impressed with the upscale look of the venue that they have created. We were especially surprised to discover that they have actually created a garden in the back (who knew the Austin mall even had an open air space back there? I certainly didn’t!) where you can dine and where they will soon have a full bar. The staff, all of whom were very friendly and welcoming, said they will be rolling out their full menu in the coming week. Until then, you can feast your eyes on these pictures:

Mexican Affairs

August 26, 2010 4 comments

By Parker

A few yards from the pigeon waste covered sidewalk of the LIRR underpass, sits 2000 square feet of empty retail space. Why does this former WaMu branch sit empty? Is it the horrible economy, the Rodeo Drive-like rents, or, like people seeking love, the right retailer hasn’t met the right location yet. But the other day permits were spotted in the window – windows covered with that nondescript brown paper that hides a mystery and seductively whispers to passersby, “yes, something’s coming.”

Permits speak their own language – one understood by architects, contractors, and inspectors. Most of us don’t know an egress from an egret, or think HVAC is an ACDC cover band – we simply want to know what’s coming soon. On this permit, between building codes, license numbers and other jargon, I saw a glimpse of the future, “…renovation of existing bank into eating and drinking est.” Now, we’ve been down this road before. For every Martha’s Country Bakery, there’s a Twin Donut. For every Jade, a restaurant to impress your Queens-phobic friends, an equally unimpressive one opens.

Since patience isn’t one of my virtues, I made some calls and discovered that Continental Avenue’s newest arrival will be hot & spicy – we’re going Mexican!

“Mexican restaurant” is a bit too vague for my comfort but my sources were tight-lipped and wouldn’t reveal the name. Taco Bell is a restaurant, but probably a disappointment to anyone who isn’t a McDonald’s loitering, I-pod listening, cell phone texting teenager. With 5 Burros and Garcias covering the sit down, table service diners at opposite ends of Austin St., I don’t see this as another local mom & pop establishment. The only logical choice is one of the larger Mexican chains – Chipotle, Qdoba, Moe’s Southwest Grill, or Baja Fresh.

First, I went to their respective websites to confirm they could operate out of 2000 square feet – all four can. Second, I went to their company news section to see if they were announcing any new Queen’s locations – no insight available here. Third, I wanted to see what presence, if any, did these restaurants have in New York City. I thought any restaurant without a Manhattan location is less likely to open their first one in Queens. All four chains are new to the City with Chipotle arriving first in the early 2000’s and Baja Fresh only opening in May 2009.

From their respective websites:

Chipotle locations: Manhattan (28), Brooklyn Heights (1)
Qdoba Mexican Grill locations: Manhattan (7), Fresh Meadow, Queens (1)
Moe’s Southwest Grill locations: Manhattan (3, but 2 are in Penn Station), Rego Park, Queens (1) – coming soon
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill locations: Manhattan (2)

I must confess that I have never eaten at any of these establishments and my opinion is only based on visits to their websites. While all four would be a welcome addition, only one would move the needle significantly on the Forest Hills’ hipness quotient meter. Can one Mexican restaurant take us from Forest Hills hip replacement to Williamsburg hip? With a corporate philosophy of community building, earth-friendliness, sustainable building design, and vegan burrito options – Chipotle is the one!

Only time will tell. Let the chips (and salsa) fall where they may, and thankfully it’s not another bank or cell phone store.

My Hero!

August 21, 2010 5 comments

Another Subway is coming to town, this time in a long-closed car rental office on the south side of Queens Blvd. between 73rd Rd & 75th Ave., in the Traymore Coop and two doors down from The Family Restaurant.

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