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New ‘Virtual Food Hall’ Offers Curated Menu Options From Local Astoria Eateries

The Big Belly Cubano Sandwich from Astoria Bier & Cheese (Instagram)

March 11, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A Queens food writer and a group of real estate developers have joined forces to launch Astoria Eats, a new website that features a curation of food items from several Astoria eateries.

The website offers a selection of menu items from Astoria-based restaurants curated by Joe DiStefano, a food writer and tour guide operator known as the “Culinary King of Queens.”

Residents are encouraged to order food via the site, since the participating restaurants will not be charged third party delivery fees.

Astoria Eats aims to replicate the traditional food hall experience where there are multiple eateries on a single online platform. The first restaurants selected by DiStefano that are featured on the website are:

Astoria Bier & Cheese (Cheese, charcuterie)
Boishakhi (Bangladeshi)
Duzan (Middle Eastern)
Mar’s (Gastropub)
Ornella (Italian)
Tacuba (Mexican)
Zenon Taverna (Greek)

Additional restaurants have already signed up to be part of platform and will be added in coming weeks.

“I’m so excited to help bring Astoria Eats to life,” DiStefano said. “From fresh Greek seafood to classic NYC pizza, in-the-know Queens residents now will be able to enjoy the very best restaurants Astoria has to offer while supporting these small businesses that are the backbone of our community.”

Astoria Eats represents a partnership between DiStefano and the developers of Innovation QNS. The developers behind Innovation QNS plan to construct more than a dozen buildings on five city blocks near the intersection of Steinway Street and 35th Avenue.

The website, which is being marketed as a virtual food hall, will serve as a precursor to a future physical hall at Innovation QNS.

The Innovation QNS plan — which is being put together by Larry Silverstein, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and BedRock Real Estate — calls for more than 2,700 apartments, a school, as well as retail and office space.

The developers will also promote the selected restaurants through press coverage, advertising, social media and other marketing efforts in order to support the small business owners who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

The Astoria Eats effort was praised by restaurant industry leaders.

“Enormous respect and congratulations to Joe and Innovation QNS for bringing Astoria Eats to life and providing critical support to restaurants that have been financially devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.

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If there’s no third party fees, what does Innovation QNS get out of it? We’re supposed to embrace them as part of our community now because they’re giving local restaurants an alternative to Seamless? No thanks.

Nobody in Astoria wants “luxury apartment” buildings that will do nothing but sit empty and drive up already bloated real estate prices. If we did, we’d move to LIC. And these restaurants, if they think that participating in this app will save their business when Innovation QNS opens its food court to bring in Olive Garden or Cheesecake Factory or whatever middle-American garbage restaurant chain they sell space to, they’ve got another think coming.


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