By Gabriel Rom
The Shops at Atlas Park played host to the best of culinary Queens Monday where five borough restaurants—Jamaica’s Vintage Curry, Astoria’s Christos Steak House and Maspeth’s Connolly’s Corner, along with Shiro of Japan and Chili’s—provided free buffet-style samples of their fare.
The event was a preview for Queens Restaurant Week, organized by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, in which more than 150 restaurants from more than 30 neighborhoods will participate. Many of them will offer three-course, prix-fixe dinners for $28 and lunches for $14. The lunch and dinner deals will last from Oct. 12 to Oct. 22, although owners will decide if they want to offer their specials on weekdays, weekends or both.
Rob MacKay, Director of Public Relations, Marketing & Tourism for QEDC, says that Queens Restaurant Week serves as a general promotion for the borough’s many restaurants and as an opportunity for residents to experiment with new cuisines at a lower price point.
“I’m proud to say that we have restaurants from every neighborhood in the borough,” he added.
McKay recalls that his office gets flooded with phone calls from residents who see the restaurant week as their opportunity to try something new.
“It’s great if you want to explore what this borough has to offer,” he said. “You can’t go wrong.”
Juan Diaz of Middle Village was walking through the mall when he caught the smell of Indian food in the air and made his way to the buffet stand. “Queens these days is the place to be,” he said. “You want to eat European, Asian, Hispanic, whatever, it’s all there. You don’t even need a car, you can just walk down the street.”
“It’s a cool idea,” said Elizabeth Kurtz of Glendale who was noshing on a crispy samosa from Vintage Curry. “You don’t feel like you have to commit here, you can try a bit of everything. You take a menu, take it home with you, and you’ve suddenly found a new place.”
“This event is a win-win,” said state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) who has made the event a staple of his schedule. “It’s a win for the consumer to try a different restaurant that they may not have tried. It’s a win for the restaurants that get new customers who will hopefully stay loyal afterwards. And, of course, for the economy.”
“Why am I here?” Addabbo added, echoing the sentiment of the day, “Because I love to eat.”
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@