Whether you are a college student studying for a final exam, a firefighter or cop whose shift ends at 2 a.m., or a group of friends leaving a bar or club at closing time– chances are late night food is probably on your mind.
For Queens residents or visitors, you are in luck because you don’t have to look very far to find a spot to satisfy that late-night food craving with many 24 hours diners located throughout the borough.
“It is a very popular spot; we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said John Singh, a manager at the acclaimed Georgia Diner, located at 86-55 Queens Boulevard. “We have a variety of menus from Greek dishes to Italian menus and appetizers of all kinds.”
Singh said that the diner, which boasts three separate dining areas, sees large crowds of people who were out at different bars or clubs during the night coming together at the diner to meet up and have some food before calling it a night.
“Early in the morning, about three of four o’clock, we have a full house in here,” said Singh, who has been with the diner for four years. “It’s like an early party in the morning.”
Just a few blocks down the street, Nick Tsakonas, who is the owner of the Pop Diner at 80-26 Queens Boulevard, said that the crowds are usually good until 11 or 12 a.m., and then there is a lull until about 3 a.m. when the same late-night crowd comes in. The restaurant is open 24 hours on Friday and Saturday night to accommodate that crowd, and the dining area is usually packed from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., according to Tskonas.
“You can get anything on the menu anytime you want,” Tsakonas said.
The Pop Diner, which is only just 15 minutes from Manhattan, attempts to create a “pop culture” diner with bright colors and flat screen TVs scattered throughout the dining area.
“People don’t want to pay city [Manhattan] prices,” said Tskonas, who also owns the Lindenwood Diner in Brooklyn and Jonathan’s Restaurant in Garden City. “Why pay city prices when you get so much more about half the price and get better service.”
Meanwhile, in Astoria – one of the hotbeds for young professionals who live in Queens and work in Manhattan – the Bel-Aire Diner often serves as a meeting place for some late-night eating. With a neighborhood feel to it, the 24/7 diner on 21st Street and Broadway is largely known for its fried calamari, according to waiter George Markopoulos.
“We just know how to make good calamari,” Markopoulos said. “Our cooks like to make it, and it brings people in.”
While many of the customers at the diners in Queens are local customers – they also attract patrons from far away. At the Georgia Diner, a group of about 90 people from Italy come to New York every year, and one of the first stops they always make is to have a meal at the diner.
Another advantage that both the Pop and Georgia Diner have over many of their competitors – both in Queens and Manhattan – is their ample parking lots so customers never have to worry about looking for a place to park.
“It’s very attractive for our customers,” Tskonas said. “It’s something you can’t really find too much anymore.”
In honor of The Queens Courier’s 24 years of serving you, our readers, and the communites you live in, we bring you a look at 24-hour Queens. We shadowed some of the people who work in and watch over the borough through the night, and, in addition, we have listed the places that you can go before the sun comes up if you need gas, feel like bowling, or get the munchies.
Read our other 24-Hour Queens Features by clicking below: