Astoria Foodies Rejoice - The Broadway Blockbuster Space gets New Tenant

During the last few years Astoria has experienced a bit of a restaurant and nightlife renaissance with the opening of many places such as Pachanga Patterson, Queens Comfort, Vesta, Bugatti Cafe, Ornella Trattoria, William Hallet and many more. These are not the more traditional restaurants Astoria was known for in the past but clearly things have changed.  While we are still very fortunate  to have the classic Greek, Italian and other amazing European restaurants that have made Astoria famous for its dining, we welcome and embrace the wonderful and creative newcomers that have opened in the recent years.  They are a welcome addition and most are here to stay.

The popular trend for a quite some time in NYC  has been the Burger Joint.  Astoria has certainly hopped on the burger bandwagon with two Bare Burger locations, 5 Napkin Burger with rumors of a second location opening in Ditmars, Burger Club, Petey's Burger, Just get the point.  Even the Old Bridge restaurant on 42nd st and 30th Ave recently felt the pressure to change their name to (yup, you guessed it) Old Bridge Burgers where you can get a Balkan burger.  It's getting a little crazy...don't you think?

Now that Astoria seems to be saturated with places to eat meat patties (I just couldn't say the B word again), we are starting to see the trend change a bit.  Don't worry carnivores, you're gonna love this.  Still plenty of meat, only now instead of grilled it will be smoked.   That means BBQ in Astoria and lots of it.

Enter John Brown Smokehouse located not so conveniently near Crescent and 37th Ave.  This Texas style smokehouse is a gem and well worth the trek.  The baked beans are easily the best I've ever had and I used to live in Texas...  In fact try everything you can there.  You won't be sorry.  I believe it's still BYOB too.

Also, the highly anticipated Butcher Bar should be opening any day now.  It is located on 30th Ave near 37th Street with a big vertical sign that says SMOKE that appears to be alluring to some mean BBQ.   Their website claims that they will have local grass fed, organic, and natural selections.  From what I am told, you pick your meat cut from the butcher section, they prepare it to your liking, and bring it to your table.  I could be wrong about this and obviously they can't smoke a brisket on the spot but either way I'm anxious to check this place out.

Soon we'll have yet another which is going to be huge.  Yes, someone else is planning to open a large scale BBQ Restaurant/ Bar / Beer Garden in Astoria.  It will occupy the one time Blockbuster Video space on Broadway between 29th St and Crescent.  Word on the street has it that there will be a large bar and plenty of seating since the space is huge.  After all it was a Blockbuster so I am sure you can all picture it.   It doesn't look like they have started on the interior but I did manage to get a decent photo of the outdoor space from an apartment I was selling in the adjacent Crescent House Co-op (btw, the crescent house has some great apartments for sale but I'll save that for another post).  It may be a while but I can not wait to see the transformation of the space.  It will certainly be an improvement.

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Tags: bbq, foodies, real estate, restaurants


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Comment by Ran Craycraft on November 19, 2012 at 10:19am

Hey all, The Strand finally opened. Take a look at our review...

Comment by Peter on March 25, 2012 at 5:32pm

Anyone know the deal with this new Beer Garden that's opening in the old blockbuster space?  It still looks like Blockbuster outside but when you look in the open door they already have the long tables set up and appear to be well on their way to looking like a fully operational Beer Garden.

Anybody know if they have a planned opening date? Or who is opening the place?

Comment by Meg on November 29, 2011 at 7:41pm

I'm sorry to see so much fighting here about what people choose to eat. We would all be happier if we didn't feel like our choices were being judged by others. Amy Litt is right to bring up Queens Kickshaw (100% vegetarian menu) and Vesta as veggie friendly. Mundo is fabulous for veggies, too. They have some terrific meatless options.

Also, Astoria is the home to one of THE BEST veggie burgers in NYC at 5 Napkin Burger. I am a very happy and content omnivore and I freaking love that veggie burger! Ovelia has a whole bunch of veggie options, too. I can't leave out Il Bambino, either, which is full of veg options. I believe Ornella has a whole vegetarian menu, too. Fresh Start on 23rd Ave also has a nice selection of veg options to takeout. 

I won't deny that I'm looking forward to checking out this new BBQ place! Thanks, Peter, for the update!


Comment by Jessica Rose on November 29, 2011 at 4:59pm

Who ever said that I hated vegans. Just because I just moved here doesn't make me any less of a resident so call me transplant all you want because you seem to be the reason most people feel refreshed when they meet someone who is not a New Yorker with that nasty attitude. Go to the farmers market and get ur rocks off there but for the rest of the people that like meat this place will be amazing! I agree with Jillian just be happy it doesn't matter if people agree or not as long as we have good company and good food (no matter meat or not) life is good and people should smile.

Comment by Jillian on November 29, 2011 at 4:04pm

I think that some folks are missing the point... More good will come from a place that is occupied and brings local jobs than an empty space (despite your food group preference). Be happy!

Comment by Amy Litt on November 29, 2011 at 1:12pm
I agree. Enough with all the meat-heavy restaurants around here! I know that in a recession people want to feel like they're getting the most value for their money, and they think that means beef for some reason. We have New York City's biggest rooftop farm right down the road and a direct route to Long Island farms. Besides Vesta and Queens Kickshaw, no one is trying to capitalize on the really underserved veggie and locally-focused restaurant goers in Astoria. Even Pachanga only has one vegetarian option! Whoever starts catering to health conscious people in Astoria is going to make a lot of money!
Comment by Chrissie Eden on November 28, 2011 at 11:20pm
Hey, guess what, obnoxious neh neh? It's not about being forced to eat anything or about being closed minded--maybe it's about wanting to have some OPTIONS and variety? Who said I hated meat/meat eaters/this establishment, or felt forced to eat it? I don't feel forced to do anything but remind you that you just moved here, Transplant, and that it's rude to be unprovokedly snotty to the natives who want to see some variety and development in the community to cater to ALL residents when we already have an abundance of other types of businesses. If you wanna spew some ignorant vegan hatred shit, go find a PETA party to crash.
Comment by Jessica Rose on November 28, 2011 at 10:03pm

Hey guess what all u vegans nobody is forcing u to go eat at the new "meat" place so calm down. As Jillian said they will have some vegetarian options as well so it will most likely be your own closed minded loss if you choose to hate the place based on other people liking meat and u being against it. I sure hope the place is good!!

Comment by Chrissie Eden on November 28, 2011 at 9:50pm
Alexis, be my local herbivore BFF! I love my hood but it annoys me I have to go to the City or Brooklyn to get good vegetarian/vegan fare. Surely we can do better than that! And why does everyone jump on bandwagons around here??? How many burger joints do u need in an area saturated with (good!) diners? It's like the drag on Ditmars with a bakery an a hair or nail salon per block--oversaturation is no good for business, people! That's why stuff closes down!!!
Comment by Lexi F on November 28, 2011 at 9:03pm
I am right there w you chrissie...enough already with the meat places..i would love a place with some awesome vegetarian and vegan fare..even better w locally sourced products so i can support local businesses and farmers.



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