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Sugar Freak to close, joins long list of 30th Avenue businesses to bite the dust

Feb. 8, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Popular New Orleans themed restaurant Sugar Freak will be closing its doors at the end of the month, following several other 30th Avenue spots that have recently bit the dust.

Sugar Freak, located at 36-18 30th Avenue, will officially close on February 28, after about five years in business.

The Cajun-creole restaurant opened in 2011, and was known for its funky interior and authentic Louisiana cuisine.

Sugar Freak is not the first restaurant to close its doors on 30th Avenue in the past few years.

On a street that is known for its plethora of restaurants of all kinds, quite a few restaurants and shops have closed to retool or permanently shut down in recent years.

Frozen yogurt shop 16 Handles closed its doors earlier this year at 37-07 30th Avenue, though did not cite a reason upon shutting down.

Fishtales Bar, located at 38-14 30th Avenue, closed in early 2016 and has since been replaced with The Wolfhound, an Irish pub that features live music.

Similarly, whisky and wine bar Bourbon and Vine at 36-05 30th Avenue closed down in September of 2015, and Indian restaurant Kurry Qulture opened in its place.

Gastropub Marketa shut down at the end of 2014, and has since been replaced by Latin-fusion restaurant Blend Astoria.

Several restaurants on 30th Avenue have also shut their doors to rethink their concepts, as their former business models were not financially viable.

Burnside Biscuits, a southern-style venture by the owner of Bareburger at 32-07 30th Avenue, closed down last fall, and will soon reopen as a barbecue joint called Salt & Bone by the same owners.

Upon closing Bareburger, spokesperson Jessical Naldo explained, “Ultimately it was a concept that with rising rent prices, and when you factor in different aspects, it just wasn’t as strong as they wanted it to be.”

Similarly, Mexican barbecue joint MexiBBQ at 37-11 30th Avenue closed in December, though in a note to customers hung in the window wrote, “We will be closing for a short time while we regroup but please stay tuned as we have more tricks up our sleeve!”

Grand Café, at 37-01 30th Avenue, announced on Facebook at the end of last month that it would be shutting down for renovations, and would reopen in the spring under new management.

The high rate of closures has not been limited to the restaurants on 30th Avenue, however.

Popular discount store Bargain Stop at 33-02 30th Avenue will close its doors on February 28 after 25 years in business, citing the building owner’s desire to develop the site.

Ellinika Agora Fruit and Vegetable Market at 32-12 30th Avenue will also likely close down soon due to development, based on permits filed with the Building Department to build a three-story mixed use building on the spot.

The Rite-Aid pharmacy at 31-10 30th Avenue shut down in 2015, and a new branch of local chain Greenbay Market opened up in its place last month.

A framing shop, Oh! Photo and Custom Framing, went out of business in 2013, and was replaced with café Gossip Coffee, which opened in 2015 at 37-04 30th Avenue.

Now Greenmarket

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29 Comments

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Helloween is the best metal band to exist

I heard that avenue is closing. I really hope
Not. They make the best cheese pie

Reply
blaine

Exactly! Most of these new places are trying to reach a certain social and economic demographic which makes it harder for them to succeed with so many new options opening up every year.

Reply
Mpross

This is happening a lot in Queens. In my opinion the rents are way too high and unreasonable. Then the landlord leaves the store unrented for years in some cases probably taking a loss on his taxes. In the case of restaurants it is getting way too expensive to eat out. It can cost almost $15 to $20 for breakfast in a diner now.

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nicky

I agree. These places are mostly feeding tourists and young folks who are used to eating out. Other than driving up rents these news restaurants and bars are doing nothing for the people trying to build a life here.

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yassss

how hot of a tourist spot do you think Astoria is? You don’t think people enjoy eating out just to eat out and have a nice dinner.
If it weren’t for these bars and restaurants there would be no life here…..people need to get out once in a while. Rents are extremely unreasonable though.

Reply
pronto

Astoria was always vibrant with stores but there used to be a sense of community, peace and safety especially during the night because most stores closed at reasonable hours. The neighborhood business’ catered to families, the youth and the elderly by providing them with local basic necessities/wants. Now most new restaurants, bars, cafes etc. are taking over the shops and rely heavily on people outside the neighborhood to make a profit. Hence, the crowds , noise, increase in traffic, and lack of parking on any day of the week. Social media has made it easier to spread the word and reach outside neighborhoods. Astoria is very economically diverse. To say that there would be no life without the over priced restaurants and bars is ridiculous. Rents will continue to increase as long as people are willing to pay that amount. Just the way things are until the next migration patterns arise…

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Simo

WOW Really? Looks like all the Greek cafes on 30th are gonna be done. Everyone will have to go to Ditmars or Omonia on Broadway

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john

Unlike the older generation, the new wave of greek immigrants are more open to trying other foods and hangouts. Most also speak excellent English and have grown up in the EU. Hence, few cafes will survive.

Reply
yasss

Avenue is staying put.
The building permit is for the properties between Avenue and The Jewelry store

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Putin stole Tom Brady's jersey

From the exterior, it looks like a candy store. Perhaps a Cajun restaurant should have a French name?

Reply
Anonymous

I grew up in Astoria and had no idea it was a cajun restaurant. If I knew, or it had a better name, I would have gone there!
L9ve Cajun food!

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Anonymous

It is becoming TOO difficult to operate any type of business in New York City anymore. Restaurants however are a bit harder to operate financially. High rents, rising nyc labor wages, high taxes, outrageous health department fines, expensive permits such as outdoor seating do not allow for an entrepreneur to make money. All they do is work for their employees, The landlord, and the governement.

Reply
Michael

I have been a business owner in Astoria for 35 years. Running a business requires lots of balancing. Not easy. Got to be on top of all the ups and downs of the economy. Stay “on top” when things are good and prepare yourself for the downs of the economy too. So sad that some of the businesses had to close their doors. I know they must have put a lot of money and effort into their ventures.
There were 2 new businesses that opened only a few months ago on 30th Ave. near Mount Sinai Hospital and they are now closed. Just a reminder that maybe the economy is not as good as Wall St. wants us to think. Consolidate! The economy is fragile.

Reply
Rixh Vagge

Poor planning / demographic homework

Changing demographics
.
Stagnant economy

Poor management

Trendy vs Basic service

Reply
jjones

Most new people (apartment renters) that move into Astoria want to move out within a year or two to places where they can get more “bang for your buck” or to nearby places that are considered the “new or next trend” (which are usually cheaper). You also have the people that can afford to move to better nearby neighborhoods like LIC. The business’ in the area reflect these changes. If you are paying very high rent, Astoria is not what it is cracked up to be.

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Yassss

LIC is not a better neighborhood by any means. It is still very much in its infancy.
New development on every corner and hardly enough options for food. No general retail at all

Astoria rents are rising too quickly which is a huge issue. We’re in a bubble whether or not anyone wants to recognize it. $100+ sq foot in Astoria for retail is ridiculous. Even seasoned veterans are going elsewhere to open up shop

Reply
vince

“New development on every corner and hardly enough options for food. No general retail at all” is exactly why LIC is a better neighborhood and sales reflect that. LIC has plenty of places to eat and drink and I can say it is safer, quieter, and way more cleaner than Astoria despite their being so many new developments. Take at look at the LICPOST and you will see that hardly anything “bad” happens there. Most people looking to live somewhere “long term” choose quiet areas away from all the bars, restaurants and stores that can now be found on every Avenue in Astoria. Many of these places have become a nuisance to many older homeowners and those seeking to raise a family here. Take a look at Astoria, most people buying homes are buying for the purpose of renting and making a profit not to live in. They are renting to people that are in and out within a year or two. Today, the very few places in Astoria away from all the chaos are where people are buying to live in (like upper ditmars).

Reply
yassss

there’s no one there! it’s a bedroom community. you won’t find anyone walking around anywhere after 10pm in LIC because there’s no where to go that is still open.

I work there, and have for 4 years, and spend hours upon hours in LIC. There are not plenty of places to eat, and you can’t even buy a pair of socks there.

Sales are steep because of the location to Manhattan and Brooklyn. Also investors drive the sales there. only 53% of condos are owner occupied. What does that mean to you? Either empty apartments or temporary residents. No one stays for good in LIC. they buy, sit for 2-3 years, sell and move elsewhere.

There are still plenty of home buyers in Astoria looking to stay here. You have no idea what you are talking about. Astoria by nature is quite transient, and i think it has to do with people coming here to experience what the area has to offer, and unfortunately being priced out of the neighborhood too quickly with the rate at which rents are increasing.

That isn’t true about LIC not having crimes. Did you know in both the LIC and Astoria precincts overall crime has gone down 7% in the last year? There is still crime. Astoria is lived in with much more to offer.

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Yassss

I completely disagree. As a real estate agent and resident for nearly a decade I can tell you these were not too upscale by any means
What is upscale to you?

Steep rents, poor execution of concept, and poor management are often the result of closure.
You have to adapt to the market and surrounding area. Your menu must change and be available to all
There are only a handful of places with a specificity targeted demographic that do well

Reply
Anonymous

If you’re saying that you must have been born here…it’s great the neighborhood is changing…for the betetr!

Reply

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