Pete’s Grill is the new kid on the block, but the recently opened diner is anything but inexperienced when it comes to good food and attentive service.
A sleek, clean and contemporary d/cor sets the 70-seat American diner apart from the Mom and Pop standard. The cozy front of the house dining area features a beautifully rendered seascape mural in jeweled tones of blue, brick and sand. The overall color scheme is one of warm neutrals: coral, golden sand, beige and chocolate. Modern lighting - soft rather than stark - sets the scene for a mid-morning brunch, a late lunch, an early supper or a late night bite.
Owner Peter Moundros’ Sunnyside bar and grill is the culmination of a lifelong love affair with food service and hospitality. Moundros planned his place to be a different kind of diner. The afternoon we were there, he worked the dining room - chatting up customers and making menu suggestions.
Moundros’ menu is extensive, with fare to please any palate. Day or night, customers can feed their particular craving.
Breakfast and brunch lovers can choose from typical American breakfast favorites - eggs any style with ham, bacon or sausage ($5.25), an Irish breakfast with sausage, black and white pudding ($6.95) or Huevos Rancheros with spicy pico de gallo ($6.95). Of course, pancakes, French toast made from Challah bread and Belgian waffles (priced at $3.95 for pancakes and French toast and $4.25 for waffles) along with omelets of every stripe - from plain cheese ($4.95) to the California with avocado, roasted mushrooms, cheddar cheese and turkey breast ($6.95) are readily available.
Vegetarian selections like Spanakopita or spinach pie ($8.95), the Mexican Salad, a cool and spicy combination of avocado, jalapeno pepper, red onion, plum tomato, and spicy cheddar served over mixed greens ($7.50), or simple and sinful Penne alla vodka with its rich creamy tomato sauce ($7.95) provide pleasant alternatives for those who do not eat meat.
The menu is rounded out with a good selection of seafood - blackened Tilapia ($13.95), Shrimp Scampi ($17.95) and Firecracker Salmon, a steak grilled and basted in a garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and brown sugar marinade ($17.95) - or meats such as an herb-roasted half chicken ($11.95), Cajun rib-eye steak ($21.95) or a stir-fry of chicken, shrimp or steak with sundried tomatoes and fresh vegetables ($13.95).
On our visit we started with appetizers - lightly breaded chicken tenders served with a choice of either honey mustard and barbecue sauce (although we happily sampled both sauces) for $6.25 and Tex-Mex nachos featuring a tangy homemade salsa for $4.95. The chicken tenders were perfectly prepared and presented with fresh celery and carrot crudit/s.
For entr/es, I had a classic Caesar salad ($5.95) plumped up with a generous portion of grilled chicken ($2.50), but a little overdressed. My companion had a Pesto burger topped with melted mozzarella, red onions and - what else - pesto served on a toasted brioche bun, sliced tomatoes, pickle, coleslaw and French fries ($7.95) and my son made short work of a gooey Pizza Burger ($7.95) loaded with mozzarella and a basil, roasted garlic, and tomato sauce. The burgers were super-sized and we thought the brioche buns were a nice touch, better than the average sesame seed.
Saving room for dessert, we had a lush sampler - a coconut custard pie that was eggy and rich without being too sweet, strawberry cheesecake and Vesuvius cake, a velvety mountain of a dessert with dark and light chocolate mousse atop a cheesecake center and a chocolate cake base. Desserts range from $4 to $6.
An average dinner for two with drinks from the full service bar runs just under $50.
39-14 Queens Boulevard
Sunnyside, NY 11104
HOURS:Open 24 hours, daily
PRICES:Appetizers & sides: $2.95-$8.95; Burgers, Panini and Wraps: $4.25-$8.50; Pasta: $6.95-$16.95; Seafood: $13.95-$17.95; Meats: $9.95-$21.95, Desserts: $4-$6.
PARKING:Limited lot and on street.