By Madina Toure
The Bourbon Street restaurant in Bayside officially opened its new rooftop patio Wednesday.
The restaurant, located at 40-12 Bell Blvd., held a pre-opening Monday night to give people a taste of the rooftop patio and allow the owner, Mark Boccia, to make some final tweaks ahead of the grand opening. More than 200 residents of Bayside and other Queens neighborhoods were present.
The Cajun-style restaurant’s new patio includes a spacious bar, low-rise tables, a lounge area and seven flat-screen TVs for sports enthusiasts.
Mark Boccia, the restaurant’s owner, said the pre-opening was intended to be an informal gathering of his family, friends and other residents to give them a taste of what the rooftop patio will offer.
“It’s pretty much family and friends here tonight,” he said.
Some of the drinks served during the preview included the Blueberry Cosmopolitan cocktail, which consists of stoli blueberry, lime juice and mint, and the Bourbon-Rita, which includes hornitos tequila, orange and lime juice and a splash of blue Curacao.
Food items included chicken wings, pizza, chips with guacamole, pita bread with sun-dried tomato hummus and tuna tartare.
Serving Bayside since 1998, the restaurant has expanded twice on the lower level, according to Laura Altimari, the restaurant’s marketing director. The restaurant operates on the first floor.
Around the same time that Boccia decided to open the rooftop patio, a school operating on the second floor moved out, so he turned the second floor into a catering and private party room.
“It’s a unique destination because in actuality it’s going to be a brand-new restaurant,” Altimari said.
Flushing resident Deidre Baker, a full-time lawyer in Howard Beach who has been working at Bourbon Street for nearly eight years, said the new patio looks “fantastic.”
“I remember him talking about it for the last year or so,” Baker said. “I saw pictures of it as it was progressing.”
Her father, Jim Baker, said his family has had graduation parties at the restaurant, noting that it is “really nice” to have a businessman involved in the community.
“We did college graduations here, high school graduations, law school graduations,” Jim said. “We always come back to Bourbon Street. It’s probably the best place on Bell.”
Astoria resident Laura Supper, who grew up in Bayside, said she enjoyed running into people she knew.
“It’s really beautiful up here,” Supper said. “I don’t even feel like I’m in Bayside.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour