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 Burgers.....you 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.