More than 50 Queens restaurants ready for food festival

By Bill Parry

The inaugural Eat in Astoria restaurant festival includes 50 restaurants and bars offering special deals to participants bearing a free foodie pass from Sept. 19 to 28.

Each establishment will offer special deals, including prix fixe menus as low as $25.

“The goal is to showcase everything about this great neighborhood from the restaurant and bar scene to its magnificent culture,” event co-founder David Paxton said. “We’re changing the way people do restaurant weeks.”

Eat in Astoria is featuring popular restaurants like MP Taverna, Marketa and Snowdonia as well as newcomers like Mars, Pink Nori and Katch.

“Astoria’s renowned restaurants participating in this event, they are attracting residents from across the city to Astoria,” Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman said. “They’re helping to boost their businesses and give people an opportunity to taste their great food.”

Paxton is with the business consulting firm Triangulum Services that was brought in by the Queens Chamber of Commerce to promote the event.

“We’re covering the cost of the event for free while giving them maximum exposure, we’re blasting it all over Facebook and Twitter.”

The Foodie Pass is available on the Eat in Astoria website. More than 700 have already signed up, and Paxton’s expecting more than 2,000 people to participate.

Also involved in the promotion is Taste of NY, a company that runs food crawls through Manhattan.

“We’re really big with corporate entities from multinational companies,” Taste of NY founder Heather Dolland said. “We move from restaurant to restaurant for each course, making it more of a social event than just sitting in one place.”

Dolland added that her company is looking to expand their business into the neighborhood.

“Astoria is not far from Manhattan, it’s just across the river,” she said. “You don’t need a passport to get there and there’s so much diversity in the culinary scene. I think our clients will find it very interesting. We’re bringing the 212 to the 718!”

Dolland was thrilled with the turnout at a kickoff event at the Astoria Bank, at 37-16 30th Ave., Tuesday night. More than 300 people paid $49 apiece to taste sample plates from 35 of the restaurants that are taking part next week.

“It was a wonderful way to kick this off bringing so many people together,” Dolland said. “It was densely packed and I was so busy meeting people that I actually forgot to eat.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr‌[email protected]‌local.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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