Tasty, free morsels displayed the borough’s diversity during the 10th annual Queens Restaurant Week kickoff at Borough Hall.
“Every neighborhood has its own unique specialty. That’s the beauty of Queens,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “We learn about each other through each other’s food.”
From September 30 to October 3 and October 7 through 10, diners can enjoy three-course dinners for $28 and three-course lunches for $14 at most of more than 50 participating Queens eateries.
“We love Queens Restaurant Week,” said Patty Medina, owner of Uncle Peter’s restaurant in Jackson Heights.
“It allows us a chance to show people what we have. We get a lot of people coming into the restaurant that never heard of us.”
Medina was one of seven vendors who served up free dishes during the September 23 kickoff event at Queens Borough Hall.
Scores of foodies and nearly 500 passersby lined up to sample scoops of seafood salad, chicken malai kabab and, for the first time, even beer.
Dozens, including the occasional craft beer connoisseur, waited for their chance to sip the borough’s namesake beer from Queens Brewery. The local beermaker is based in Long Island City and sells draft beer in 42 borough establishments.
Founder Nelson Rockefeller, who turned into a temporary bartender for the event, was behind the tap, handing out cup after cup of free Queens Lager.
“I just want people to enjoy it and have fun,” Rockefeller said.
The Family Restaurant, Christos Steak House, Dazies and Tequila Sunrise of Bayside were also there to serve up their specialties.
Millie Molina of Jamaica said she chased down some savory Indian chicken from Haveli restaurant in Forest Hills with a cup of Queens Lager.
“Queens has a lot of different ethnic groups that cook differently,” she said. “You get to try a lot of different things.”
Lisa Assam of Kew Gardens said the kickoff samples gave her the opportunity to taste the food before she patronized the restaurant.
“The variety is very good,” she said. “I love it.”
The long list of participating restaurants this year features all sorts of Mexican, Cajun, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.
“You can find your hometown cooking right in Queens,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Queens Restaurant Week allows diners to enjoy some of the tastiest dishes from around the world without having to spend a lot or travel very far.”
Bornstein said he expects close to 100 restaurants to join by the end of the week.
The positive response from past Queens Restaurant Weeks has resulted in this year’s additional four days from October 7 to October 10.
Restaurant Week is presented by the Queens Tourism Council and is sponsored by Melrose Credit Union, jetBlue, Resorts World Casino New York City, Restaurant Depot, Tequila Sunrise of Bayside, The Queens Courier and The Best of the Boro.
For a full list of participating restaurants, visit www.itsinqueens.com and click “Restaurant Week.”
“Maybe next year, we’ll be celebrating Queens Restaurant Month,” Marshall said.