Nov. 29, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
A new establishment has taken up a spot on 30th Avenue that was once the longtime home to the recently-shuttered William Hallet.
The Royal Underground, a restaurant and bar, celebrated their soft opening at 36-10 30th Ave. over the past weekend, which comes as the prior bistro closed down in September after seven years in business.
The restaurant, however, will have its grand opening on Dec. 14, with the soft opening in the meantime meant to test, adjust and smooth out dishes and service, according to Gary Anza, co-owner and executive chef.
The Royal Underground will offer “American artisanal” dishes with an edge. Some dishes, for instance, blend Asian influences and French technique.
“We’re rustic,” said Anza, who previously ran the now-closed Bowery Bay on Ditmars Boulevard. “We like to take what’s being done in Manhattan and bring it down to a moderate level with more reasonable prices for the people of Queens.”
The restaurant, run in tandem with Anza’s business partner, Craig Davis, seats more than 60 patrons. About 50 people can be seated inside, with 12 more in the outside patio.
A major focus of the Royal Underground is its whiskey selection, with more than 200 bottles already adorning the walls of the restaurant.
The whiskeys have been chosen through clientele requests, and represent what customers have ordered with them through their past Bowery Bay business.
Anza and Davis are also working on an app that would provide customers with a type of whiskey-tasting “passport club.” App members who try at least 25 flavors of whiskey receive a “flight”, or small servings, of three whiskeys on the house.
Members who have tried 50 flavors will receive a free dinner, and for patrons that hit 100 flavors, the owners will gift them any bottle from their shelves and serve it every time the customer dines in.
“I think it will separate us from everyone else,” Anza said.
Anza, an Astoria resident, says the area is ready for fine-dining at comfortable prices, and looks forward to a new experience with this side of the neighborhood.
“We believe 30th Avenue is thriving,” he said. “There’s a lot of life on this street.”
The restaurant is currently operating every day from 5 p.m. until midnight, and will open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily after its grand opening. The Royal Underground will also introduce weekend brunch shortly after.