Over the past few months, several new eateries have cropped up in northeast Queens, seemingly defying the odds despite hundreds of restaurants that have permanently closed across New York City.
The establishments, some of which are set to open soon, range in their culinary offerings and include an outpost of an Astoria diner that came to Bayside, a pancake house on Bell Boulevard and a cookie shop in Whitestone.
Neptune Diner (35-01 Bell Blvd.)
When the Jackson Hole diner at 35-01 Bell Blvd. shut its doors in 2020, the owners of Neptune Diner in Astoria decided to open an outpost in the northeast Queens neighborhood.
Like the original diner owned by Peter and George Katsihtis, Neptune Diner on Bell Boulevard serves traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner fare, sprinkled with Greek specialties like spanakopita, moussaka, gyro and souvlaki.
In addition to the Astoria and Bayside locations, the Katsihtis brothers own another outpost in Brooklyn and a high-end eatery in Manhattan under a different name.
Belly Cake Pancake House (38-36 Bell Blvd.)
On the corner of 38th Avenue and Bell Boulevard is the newly opened Belly Cake Pancake House, which offers the perfect blend of sweet and savory selections for any craving.
Although “pancake house” is in its name, Belly Cake touts a varied menu including the aptly named “Belly stacks,” breakfast sandwiches, coffees, fresh juices and smoothies.
According to its Instagram, the eatery is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jongro Rice Hotdog (39-21 Bell Blvd.)
Since Excellent Beauty Salon moved down the block to 39-36, Jongro Rice Hotdog has taken up residency in its old storefront at at 39-21 Bell Blvd. For those who are unfamiliar, Korean rice hot dogs are a popular street food that are so named for their similar appearance to corn dogs, though they do not contain any cornmeal. Instead, hot dogs, sausages and sometimes cheese on a stick are rolled in a sticky rice flour, coated in breadcrumbs and dusted in sugar. Some creative varieties of these treats are even covered in potatoes or crispy ramen noodles.
In addition to rice hot dogs, Jongro also plans to serve mochi doughnuts, another trendy food hailing from Japan. Based on a recipe for “pon de ring” from Mister Donut in Japan and with a name loosely based on pao de queijo from Brazil, this treat is made with glutinous rice flour for a chewier texture than traditional yeast doughnuts.
Passersby have snapped photos of the storefront, which bares signs of its imminent opening.
Mito Asian Fusion (210-35 26th Ave.)
This established sushi restaurant, with locations in Forest Hills and Yonkers, is opening two new Queens locations in Bay Terrace. The Bay Terrace Community Alliance confirmed that the eatery would be located at The Bay Terrace shopping center, though an opening date has not yet been announced.
The menu on its website boasts an array of options including bento boxes, Japanese and Korean appetizers, endless sushi choices, cooked entrees and desserts.
Mito Asian Fusion also has plans to open a location in Long Island City at 27-25 Jackson Ave.
Canella Cafe Bakery (25-85 169th St.)
This Flushing cafe and bakery celebrated its grand opening back in February 2021 and has been serving its delicious confections for the past month.
On its menu, guests can order a wide variety of cakes, pies, puddings, pastries and savory treats. Canella also offers whole cakes and catering for celebrations. Learn more on its Facebook and Instagram.
Duchess Cookies (14-16b Clintonville St.)
In an unassuming Whitestone storefront is Duchess Cookies, which replaced Coffee Lab when it closed last year. Now, its Clintonville Street location is set to open on Saturday, March 27, at 11 a.m. According to its Facebook page, the first 100 customers in line will get a free chocolate chip cookie with their purchase.
Inspired by her family’s bakery business, the store’s creator and president Sofia Demetriou opened her first location in 2017 after experimenting for months to come up with a “perfect cookie.”
Now, Duchess offers myriad cookie flavors including: maple bacon; churro, Nutella and strawberry PB&J, as well as classic varieties like chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin.
Duchess Cookies are also sold at other Queens shops including Rush Hour Cookies N Cream Cafe at 39-27 Bell Blvd. and Under Pressure Espresso Bar at 30-92 31st St.