Tag Archives: Butcher Bar

Top five summer activities in Astoria Park

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation


Astoria Park is an outdoor urban oasis along the banks of the East River in northwestern Queens. The nearly 60-acre park, located on 19th Street off Ditmars Boulevard, is one of the largest outdoor spaces in the borough, with splendid waterfront views of upper Manhattan, as well as both the Triboro and Hell Gate bridges.

The park is the perfect staycation destination for day trippers, tourists and neighborhood regulars. Here are our picks for the top five best summer events and activities in the western Queens green space.

Astoria Pool
19th Street

This art deco, Olympic-sized swimming pool is the largest in the city, making it the perfect place for city dwellers to cool their heels on a hot summer day. Astoria Pool is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunbathers can soak up rays on the poolside deck while swimmers enjoy splashing around in the shadow of the Triboro Bridge. The pool offers aquatics programs and swimming lessons for youths and adults, as well as a smaller wading pool for beginners.


Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Special Early Bird and Night Owl swim hours are also available through the Adult Lap Swim Program, which allows swimmers to focus on fitness and swim technique. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded to men and women who have completed the most lengths until Friday, Aug. 7. For more information or to register, click here.

New World Queens Festival
Astoria Park Great Lawn
Saturday, Aug. 29, noon to 9 p.m.


Photo via Astoria Music and Arts Facebook page

This free outdoor festival presented by Astoria Music and Arts will feature over 60 musical acts and visual artists with the goal of raising eco-awareness. Artists range from bossa nova, reggae, ska, R&B, rock, psychedelic, Americana, indie, funk, blue grass and Afro-Cuban bands. There will also be DJs, a pie-eating contest sponsored by Astor Bake Shop and Little Club Heads, a family dance party experience for children 1 to 12 years old, a dance tent featuring Sol Dance Studios, a puppet show by WonderSpark from Raising Astoria, and a giant Kaiju Big Battle Monster. There will also be an on-site outdoor exhibit featuring the work of over 30 visual artists, sculptors and painters. The event is family- and pet-friendly.

Pack a picnic 

Butcher Bar

Photo courtesy of Butcher Bar

Escape the concrete jungle for an afternoon without ever having to leave Queens. With its jaw-dropping views of the city and the East River, Astoria Park is the perfect, picturesque picnic spot. Picnic essentials include a large blanket or quilt, sunscreen, a Frisbee, a good book, cloth napkins and trash bags for post-picnic cleanup. The key to a well-stocked picnic basket is to start with locally made, handheld favorites. Stop by Butcher Bar and pick up the “PBLT” sandwich ($10.99), featuring grilled smoked pork belly, the Philly cheese brisket ($13.49) or its saucy, braised pulled BBQ chicken ($10.99) topped with coleslaw, onions and pickles. Pair these delectable sandwiches with one of its all-natural sodas, lemonade or famous Butcher Bar iced tea.

Movies on the Waterfront
Astoria Park Great Lawn

Photo courtesy of the Facebook page of Give Me Astoria

Photo via Give Me Astoria Facebook page

Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and some ice cream and head over to the Great Lawn in Astoria Park this summer for the Monday night Movies on the Waterfront series organized by Central Astoria LCD. Check out “Frozen” (August 3), “How to Train Your Dragon” (Aug. 10), “Ghostbusters” (Aug. 17) and “The Incredibles” (Aug. 24) on a big screen under the stars. Movies start at 8:30 p.m. on the Great Lawn, located off Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool. The series is sponsored by nearby Kaufman Astoria Studios and admission is free.

Pop an ollie!
Astoria Skate Plaza
Hoyt Avenue at 19th Street

Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

This 21,500-square-foot skate park is located at the southern end of Astoria Park, directly under the Triboro Bridge. Astoria Skate Plaza features multiple levels with stairs, rails, banks and ledges of varying heights and sizes. The park was created by Who Skates, a leader in municipal, urban skate park design, and features an open design that allows for a free-form style of skating. Although an attendant will be provided during official hours of operation, skaters will need to sign a special waiver with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation before hitting the rails.




The top five outdoor eateries along Astoria’s 30th Avenue

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Butcher Bar


30th Avenue in Astoria is one of the hottest strips for dining and nightlife in Queens. With summer in full swing, check out our picks for the top five outdoor eateries for dining al fresco in the heart of the neighborhood.

Butcher Bar
37-10 30th Ave.

This purveyor of grass-fed, organic grain finished beef is part old-school butcher shop, part BBQ smokehouse vending high-quality cuts of meat, such as antibiotic- and hormone-free organic chicken, heritage pork, beef and traditional meat products. Hungry patrons can opt to purchase meat to cook at home, or they can stay and dine in Butcher Bar’s backyard garden complete with long, family-style wooden picnic tables, bold red canvas umbrellas and strings of cozy Edison lightbulb lanterns.

Photo courtesy of the Facebook page of Butcher Bar

Photo via Butcher Bar Facebook page

Dishes like the saucy yet sweet “meat candy” beef burnt ends ($13.50), half-baked mac and cheese ($10.99) Philly cheese brisket ($13.50) and tender St. Louis-style house smoked dry rubbed ribs ($19.99 half rack; $34.99 full) have earned Butcher Bar notoriety and a cult-like following. Stars of the new summertime bottomless brunch are the candied bacon and the smoked brisket hash with country gravy. Butcher Bar’s expertly prepared meats can also be found outdoors at the LIC Flea every Saturday and Sunday until the end of October.

Grand Café
37-01 30th Ave.

Photo courtesy of Grand Cafe

Photo courtesy of Grand Cafe

Sunlight and summer breezes waft into Grand Café’s exotic appointed dining room through large glass doors that open out onto ample sidewalk seating. The azure umbrellas, canvas chairs, exotic plants and palms create the feeling of dining outdoors in a quaint seaside resort town along the Aegean Sea without ever having to leave Astoria. Early birds will want to visit this Mediterranean eatery and sample the Cypriot omelette ($7.25), a mix of loukaniko, halloumi and tomato, while sipping the Early Riser ($9), an organic cold pressed juice blend of pineapple, pear, apple and mint. Lunch options include an impressive list of fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers and savory crepes, as well as an organic Greek yogurt bar. The specially seasoned lamb burger ($13.50), served with spicy feta on a seven-grain roll, is another great pick.

Antika Restaurant and Pizzeria
36-08 30th Ave.

Photo courtesy of the Facebook page of Antika Restaurant and Pizzeria

Photo via Antika Pizzeria’s Facebook page

This Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzeria uses only the finest ingredients to bring the authentic flavor of Naples to Astoria. Patrons can opt to slide into one the red leather banquets that line the exposed brick walls of Antika’s cozy dining room, or they can dine outside at one of six tables beneath the bold red canvas awning for the experience of an Italian piazza on a tree-lined street in Queens. Antika is best known for its old-fashioned, Grandma-style square pizza ($21) made with fresh San Marzano tomatoes and Grana Padano pecorino cheese. The prosciutto pizza dough sandwich ($14), which features prosciutto di Parma, fresh mozzarella and olive oil in a balsamic reduction, is another great choice.

Sugar Freak
36-18 30th Ave.

Photo courtesy of Sugar Freak

If you’re seeking authentic Louisiana-style comfort food in the heart of the city, Sugar Freak delivers. Start out with a bowl of Creole French onion Soup ($9), chili honey-infused hush puppies ($8) or popcorn alligator served with Creole mustard and grape jelly ($12). Sugar Freak’s extensive dinner menu features a delectable roster of New Orleans favorites like po’boys ($10-16), beer can chicken with sweet potato waffles ($17), jambalaya ($15) and crawfish etouffee ($18). Wash down all of this spicy goodness with a libation from their newly updated cocktail list, including the classic hurricane ($8), Creole bloody mary ($8) or swamp juice ($8), a potent blend of vodka, Triple Sec, Blue Curaçao, pineapple and orange juice complete with gummy worm garnish. Sugar Freak’s eclectic mix of antique chandeliers, corrugated tin ceiling and delicately roped-off sidewalk patio complete with cafe chairs and vintage floral linens impart a rustic, homespun vibe that is both inviting and inspired.

William Hallet
36-10 30th Ave.

Photo courtesy of the Facebook page of William Hallet

Photo via William Hallet’s Facebook page

This laid-back, American-style bistro features both weekend brunch and late-night drinks in a cozy, intimate setting. Enjoy a craft beer or weekend brunch favorites like the duck sausage hash ($15) or crab cake benedict ($16) while seated outdoors at one of several cozy café tables. William Hallet’s slow-cooked brisket ($16) served with grilled zucchini hush puppies, deviled egg salad and charmoula is the perfect summertime feast. Classic cocktails are also available. Try the guava lemonade ($10), blueberry smash ($10) or The Outerboro ($11), a flavorful mix of scotch, dry vermouth, grapefruit bitters and Swedish Punsch. Stay up-to-date on William Hallet’s special events here.


24-Hour Repackathon set to break record

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of City Harvest

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, one organization is looking to make a difference while also setting a new record.

City Harvest, a food rescue organization founded in 1982, will host its second annual 24-Hour Repackathon on Thursday in Long Island City with the mission to help feed hungry New Yorkers across the five boroughs over the winter and holidays.

“This is part of our initiative to keep shelves at food pantries stocked for the winter,” said Samantha Park, manager of communications for City Harvest. “For a lot of people they have to make the difficult choice between paying rent and putting food on the table for their children.”

During the event, which will be held at City Harvest’s LIC Food Rescue Facility located at 55-01 Second St., more than 300 volunteers will repack bulk food donations into family-sized packages for 24 hours straight.

Participants include members from corporations such as Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and many others. Restaurants, including Astoria’s Butcher Bar, will also donate food for volunteers.

“It’s just a great way to give back. The holidays are around the corner and people are always thinking about ways they could help,” Park said. “These are big businesses in New York City giving back to the community.”

Starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, volunteers will arrive in groups of 50 for three-hour shifts in which they will repack packages that will go out to over 500 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city.

At last year’s inaugural 24-Hour Repackathon, City Harvest set a world record by repacking close to 215,000 pounds of food, according to Park. This year, the organization plans to surpass that record with the goal of repacking 225,000 pounds, enough to feed more than 2,000 families.

During the last shift on Friday, which will end at 5 p.m., special guest volunteers will include U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former New York Knicks player John Starks.

“There are times that we can all come together and help each other,” Park said. “That’s what our organization is all about, having New Yorkers come together and help each other out.”


Beers and bites at last outdoor LIC Flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The last outdoor weekend of the LIC Flea & Food will be delicious.

The popular Long Island City market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will hold a food event sponsored by Yelp called Beers & Bites.

During the event, LIC Flea food vendors will offer small bites of their products. Participating vendors of savory foods include Jessy’s Pastries, Nightingale Provisions, Southern Wheels Eats, the Bao Shoppe, Zha Foods, Huikai, Henio Foods, Butcher Bar, Café Patoro, Oconomi, El Jefe’s Nachoria and Love. Grit. Cook. Sweets vendors participating include Cassy’s Cookies & Cobblers, Jam Jar, Petoulda Bakery, Sweet Muse, Squish Marshmallows, Ice & Vice and Spoonful of Brownies.

The LIC Flea Beer Garden,, which is set up along the basin in the back of the market with views of the Manhattan skyline and outdoor seating, has selections from SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and Rockaway Brewing Company.

This Saturday and Sunday are the last days the LIC Flea will be outside from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Starting on Nov. 1 the LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market will begin inside the warehouse attached to the original outdoor lot. The beer garden will remain open.

Even with the move indoors as the weather gets colder, the fun will continue with live music, DJs and pictures with Santa Claus.

The holiday market, which will mix LIC Flea favorite vendors with new faces offering local, handmade and uniquely curated items, will run every Saturday and Sunday through December 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information visit www.licflea.com or www.facebook.com/licflea.



First Annual LIC Flea Favorites Food Festival this weekend

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

The Long Island City waterfront will be filled with celebrations this weekend.

The popular LIC Flea & Food, held every Saturday at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will host the First Annual LIC Flea Favorites Food Festival, bringing the best food vendors from the market.

Such vendors include Oconomi, Jessy’s Pastries, Butcher Bar, Arborio King, Tea + Milk, Drink More Good, Frittering Away, ChocoToy, Ice & Vice, The Sugar Boutique, Ice Riders and Mom & Popsicles.

During the festival, vendors will receive “Flea Favorite” awards based on votes by a panel of judges and visitors to the market as well.

Judges include Bradley Hawks, editor-in-chief of BORO Magazine; Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; NY1 reporter Arlene Borenstein; and bloggers Layla Khoury-Hanold of “A Glass of Rose” and Karen Siegler of “Markets of New York City.”

Visitors to the Flea on July 26 will be able to select their favorite vendors to win the LIC Flea Favorites Visitors Choice Award.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Astoria, the Astoria Flea & Food is offering the best in food, drinks, antiques, clothing, art, accessories and much more. Local art groups will be represented at the Astoria Flea.

The market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue, every Sunday until August 31.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.



LIC and Astoria Flea & Food vendors to be at World’s Fair Anniversary Festival

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Several food vendors from the LIC Flea & Food and Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios are making their way to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park this Sunday to add their flavor to the World’s Fair festivities.

Visitors to the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival will be able to taste empanadas from Jessy’s Pastries, Old Fashioned Donuts, brisket from Butcher Bar, Finga Lickin Jamaican Jerk Spot’s jerk chicken, Kosofresh’s rice bowls, Fav’s Treatery’s muffins stuffed with cheeses and meats, ZhaPanAsian riceballs, kosher cheeses from The Cheese Guy, Drink More Good syrups and drinks, and cool down with lemonade from Frittering Away.

The vendors will be located by the rides and just steps away from the New York State Pavilion.

The World’s Fair Anniversary Festival begins at 1 p.m. and a variety of music, including tunes from a Beatles Tribute band, book readings, puppet shows and food from around the world. The festival will then end with a sky-filled with fireworks.



Astoria Flea opens this weekend

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The wait is finally over, Astoria!

Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria, a partnership between the LIC Flea and Kaufman Astoria Studios, is opening this Sunday, May 4.

The city’s first-ever backlot market, which was announced two months ago, will bring the community the best in food vendors, antiques, collectibles, art, crafts, fashion and much more.

The Astoria Flea will be located in the studio’s outdoor lot, the first of its kind in New York City, which opened up in December at 36th Street and 35th Avenue.

“It will be a great place to experience in one place all the amazing food offerings, artists, crafts and boutiques that have blossomed all around Astoria and throughout western Queens,” said Tracy Capune, vice president of Kaufman Astoria Studios. “Having it on the back lot will allow people to see the Kaufman Astoria Studios campus, where you’re surrounded by all of this film history and the stages where shows like Orange is the New Black, Sesame Street and Alpha

Men are made. There isn’t another flea market like this in New York, or the country as far as I know.”

The market will operate every Sunday for eight consecutive weekends. Upon arrival at the Astoria Flea entrance at 35th Avenue, visitors will be welcomed by a brand-new 40-foot-high steel gate, designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group.

Some vendors from the LIC Flea & Food, just a neighborhood away, will also set up a table at the Astoria Flea to offer the community the best in food, arts, clothing and much more.

Matthew Katakis, owner of Butcher Bar, has been an LIC Flea vendor favorite since it began last year. He will now bring his 14-hour smoked brisket and pulled pork, combination sandwich called The Monster and some other surprise items to the Astoria Flea, located just five blocks away from the Butcher Bar’s Astoria location at 37-08 30th Ave.

“We think the flea market is a good idea for the community in LIC and Astoria,” said Katakis. “It’s a great way to pass the day, meet new people, experience different cultures, types of food and vendors.”

The market, which is within walking distance from the M, R, N and Q train lines, is expected to act as an incubator to help promote and foster businesses along with the surrounding community.

“It will bring in people who have never been here before, but have maybe heard some of the buzz and have been wanting to check it out,” Capune said. “We expect people will roam and visit other stores and restaurants in the vicinity, so it will bring traffic to our neighbors in the Kaufman Arts District as well.”

Last month, Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of the Moving Image and the Queens Council on the Arts announced the designation of the Kaufman Arts District, the first of its kind in the borough.

The Kaufman Arts District will span from 31st Street to the west, 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east, and 37th Avenue to the south.

Vendors can apply to sell at the Astoria Flea at www.LICFlea.com. Updates are available through Facebook at www.facebook.com/AstoriaFlea and Twitter at @AstoriaFlea.




Astoria’s Butcher Bar needs help to be eligible for $250K grant

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Butcher Bar

Butcher Bar, an Astoria butcher shop/restaurant, has applied for a $250,000 grant from Chase as part of a newly launched program, Mission Main Street Grants.

“Butcher Bar is striving to grow and expand its business and its charitable efforts with organizations such as City Harvest. Receiving this grant would be an unbelievable opportunity to ensure our work continues in Queens and all over NY,” said business owner Kathy Castro.

Butcher Bar must submit a questionnaire outlining a business plan that will result in growth of the business and receive at least 250 votes to be eligible for a grant.

Customers, fans and community members can show support for Butcher Bar by voting at https://www.missionmainstreetgrants.com.

Search using Facebook Connect, and then entering either the business name “Butcher Bar” (2 words) or entering zip code # 11103, and then selecting “Butcher Bar.”

The voting deadline is November 15, 2013 and grant recipients will be selected by expert panelists.

Through Mission Main Street Grants, Chase will award $3 million to small business across America. All businesses that apply for a grant and meet the eligibility requirements will receive a special advertising offer from Premier Sponsor, Google. In addition, the 12 grant recipients will be eligible to receive a trip to Google for an exclusive small business marketing workshop with Google experts and a Google Chromebook Pixel laptop.

The 12 grant recipients will be announced in January 2014.

About Butcher Bar

At Butcher Bar our mission is to connect our customers to the source of their food – small scale, sustainable local farms that are committed to producing natural, humanely raised, high quality and distinctive meat products.  Our goal is to educate our customers to a growing movement of health conscious eating and sustainable farming practices. – we offer 100 percent grass-fed and grass-fed/organic grain finished beef, organic chicken, heritage breed pigs and more traditional meat products- always feed lot free and raised without hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products.

We are purveyors of a unique selection of artisanal meats and other fine organic goods.

We also do some really great smoked BBQ!

Check us out at www.ButcherBar.com or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ButcherBarSmokeHouse.

About Mission Main Street Grants

Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to small business, Chase launched Mission Main Street Grants, a program that will award 12 grants of $250,000 to small businesses across America. By completing a business profile, a grant questionnaire, and meeting relevant eligibility requirements, small businesses will have access to special offers from the Premier Sponsor, Google. Chase is committed to helping small businesses so they can take big steps for their business and community. For additional details about Mission Main Street Grants visit www.MissionMainStreetGrants.com.