September 11, By Tara Law
A trendy Astoria restaurant is reopening as a Chinese restaurant with a twist.
The owners of the Queens Kickshaw are in the process of renovating their 40-17 Broadway space for an October opening as a Chinese restaurant. The menu is still in the works, but will be a combination of traditional Sichuan style cooking and an innovative take on American Chinese food.
The Queens Kickshaw was known for serving beer, coffee and specialty grilled cheese sandwiches. The old restaurant closed on Aug 27.
Ben Sandler, who opened the Kickshaw in March 2011 with his wife, Jennifer Lim, said that the couple had been considering opening a Chinese restaurant for a long time. When it became a financial challenge to keep the Kickshaw open, the couple decided to seize the opportunity to make a change.
“Sales were suffering, and we didn’t really have a choice,” said Sandler. “But we really love Chinese food. That’s what we eat at home.”
Chinese food and culture has been an important part of Sandler and Lim’s relationship. Lim grew up in the Philippines, but her family is Chinese. The couple are documentary photographers, and met while photographing the Three Gorges Dam in China’s Sichuan province.
Sandler emphasized that the couple intends to keep the spirit of the Kickshaw alive.
“There’s a lot of things that we want to keep from the Kickshaw,” said Sandler. “Especially about the involvement in the community. We want it to be the kind of place where people can gather and a great place to work.”
Opening week dinner tickets are available for purchase on the Kickshaw’s website. The $35 ticket covers food, drink, tax and gratuity during the first week, and can be redeemed as a $35 gift certificate if unused after the first week.