By Naeisha Rose
Restaurants from all over central and parts of western Queens were represented at Atlas Mall in Glendale for the Dine in Queens Kick Off event Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m.
Over a hundred people came to the event to try the free samples that highlighted the status of Queens as the most diverse county not just in the United States.
There was food from India, Brazil, Colombia, Italy and China for the preview of the dining extravaganza that used to be called Queens Restaurant Week.
Grace Pizza, a first-generation Italian restaurant located in Glendale, brought samples of penne a la vodka; rigatoni with sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and oil; sausage and peppers; chicken cacciatore and more.
“We wanted to raise awareness as to the good food in these neighborhoods,” said owner George Tagaris, 36. “We have food that is wholesome and good for them.”
At the Kurry Qulture food stand, the owner and chef gave out samples of mushroom bruschetta with goat cheese.
We primarily make “North and South Indian food, but also Indian food from all the states,” said Gurminder Singh, 37, a Michelin chef whose restaurant is in Queens.
Chinese restaurant Grain House served up Szechuan-style food, which mostly consists of meats, vegetables and noodles.
“I think this is a helpful way to show really traditional Chinese food,” said David Pan, 45. “ What people eat now is Americanized Chinese food. They’ve never been to a real Chinese restaurant, but this right here is authentic Chinese food.”
Tienda Vieja, which specializes in Colombian food from Medellin, a city near the Bogota capital, came to the kick-off to promote their restaurant.
“We are a block inside Utopia near PS 107 on 67th Avenue and Fresh Meadows Lake, and we are hidden in there,” said Geraldine Puerta.
Beija Flor, a Brazilian restaurant in Astoria will celebrate its fourth anniversary Feb. 15, a day after Valentine’s Day.
At the Flor food stand, Danilo Barros, 25, who came from Brazil, shared samples of pastel de queijo (cheese), pastel carne do sol (beef jerky), pastel de frango (chicken), and bolinho de bacalhau (codfish croquette).
“It is an amazing Brazilian place in this working-class neighborhood, “ said Ken Holiday, 35.
Dishing out treats was Brooklyn Cupcake, which is owned by sisters Carmen Rodriguez, 50, and Gina Madera, 45.
“I think this is pretty cool. It’s a great way to learn about your neighborhood, “said Rodriguez. The sisters recently opened their second location in Glendale. Their first store is in Williamsburg.
Also at the event were Restaurant Depot, which gave discounts to families for 20 percent off of their weekly shopping, and the Queens Economic Development Center, which helped to manage the event.
Dine in Queens officially begins Monday, Oct. 17, and runs through Nov. 3.