Tag Archives: Trakia

An old world organic kitchen

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Bradley Hawks


Alexander Dimitrov, the chef-owner of Trakia, which recently opened in Astoria, is hoping guests will come for the organic pizza, but then return for one of his authentic Mediterranean dishes roasted in the brick oven — or for the pizza again. There is a whole lot going on in this new kitchen, and Dimitrov is no newcomer to the industry. He is the owner of Mehanata on the Lower East Side.

While Trakia has no aspirations of becoming a Bulgarian nightclub and vodka-tasting den, it does plan to showcase a laid-back, brick oven approach to cooking far more than just pizza.

The intention for Trakia is simply to bring organic, authentic, casual Mediterranean cooking to 30th Avenue, in a relaxed setting with a somewhat eccentric atmosphere. The décor features much of Dimitrov’s own woodwork, as well as a hand-sculpted aquarium built into the wall, which showcases a mosaic of tchotchkes, running from a miniature Tinker Bell figurine to a manger scene with Mary and Joseph. Three wise monkeys sit perched at the top.

The real object of our affection is the extensive range of menu items. Marijan Begani heads up the pizza station, where pies are topped with everything from homemade pockets of chicken ravioli, to a dessert pie smeared with Nutella and topped with grapes and a blend of berries.

Though Dimitrov is Bulgarian, the restaurant name is a reference to a United Europe, as the menu reflects. Stoneware dishes are used to bake shopski salads — like a Greek salad topped with creamy feta and a whole egg. Lahmacun and pides come steaming from the oven — pastry boats filled with a variety of ground meats, including traditional ground lamb. Whole eggplants and butternut squashes are lightly brushed with oil, dusted with salt and slow-roasted near the open flames. Mici (called Meech on the menu) arrive like Romanian sausages tucked into a warm pocket of lapinja (a Bosnian bread) that has been freshly made and hand-dipped into bone broth before being baked. Sasljik (shishkabobs) arrive on a wooden stand that displays the grilled meat and vegetables like dueling swords.

Oh, and they are making a Caesar salad pizza, and a taco pizza, as well.

“We have a lot more ideas we want to try out,” chuckles manager A.J. Dracic, who hopes they will sell enough pizza and Mediterranean food to sell both. So far, clientele seems very Eastern European, which comes as no surprise on a ten-block stretch of 30th Avenue that averages a pizzeria on every corner, including a few brick ovens. “But no one else is selling organic, gluten-free options,” explains Dracic. “Ideally, we want to be accessible to everybody.”

If you cannot find a chance to stop by their storefront next to Mini Star Diner at Steinway and 30th Avenue, they have a whole brick oven set up all summer long at the LIC Flea, where guests can order their wood-fired pizzas.

38-14 30th Ave., Astoria




LIC Flea & Food is just a week away

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


The popular Long Island City flea market LIC Flea & Food will celebrate its 2014 grand opening on Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6 in the same spot as last year: an outdoor lot by the waterfront at Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

Items for sale at the market include collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, fashion and more, along with a greatly expanded selection of food and drinks.

Along with many LIC Flea favorites, new faces are being introduced this season, bringing visitors a wide array of foods and other items.

Kathy Baer, owner of Jewel Dripped, will be selling handcrafted jewelry made out of quality metals, gemstones and vintage beads.

“I’m excited to have more face-to-face contact with people and see their reactions to my things,” said Baer, who primarily sells her items on www.Etsy.com. “It would just be fun to hang out in the street with real people and feed off their energy and try out new ideas.”

Among the new food vendors is Mediterranean restaurant Trakia, which is located at 38-14 30th Ave. in Astoria. This vendor will serve organic personal pizzas made on site in a portable brick oven, created for the LIC Flea.

“It’s going to be a great exposure for us,” said Ajdin Dracic, manager at Trakia. The restaurant is looking to combine different toppings on the pies to bring unique combinations of flavors. “It’s perfect for the target audience we are chasing and we want to get reactions from people with the crazy combinations.”

Another food vendor is Mamak Malaysia, which will be selling traditional Malaysian food with homemade twists to each plate.

“Since we are new and we are a unique Malaysian restaurant, I just want to go out and introduce our restaurant and my food,” said Nani Yusof Hughie, owner and executive chef of Mamak Malaysia. “It will give an opportunity for me and for those people to know us and for us to know our customers. We want to be part of the LIC Flea family.”

Other new vendors include Kimchi Smoke, Robicelli’s, Sara Jenny Fries, King of Falafel & Shawarma, Grateful Bread Company, Vintage-Dealers Choice Jewelry and Nyan Soaps.

During the opening weekend, the New York Cosmos soccer team, which will start its season against Atlanta on April 13 at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, will be on site to bring activities for kids and families.

LIC Flea & Food will run every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Applications are still being accepted for the new season by registering online at www.licflea.com.