Over 45 businesses will take part in the 10th annual Sunnyside Restaurant Week starting Sunday, April 17, to establish the neighborhood as a go-to dining destination and help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sunnyside Restaurant Week is a weeklong promotion where customers can sample diverse dishes from authentic local restaurants. Participating restaurants will serve a three-course dinner menu for just $30 and offer a variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner and drink specials.
Foodies will be able to choose from a variety of cuisines including Italian, Japanese, Peruvian, Mexican, Salvadorian, Irish, Colombian, Tibetan and so much more. On April 11, menus for each restaurant will be posted on the Sunnyside Shines website. Sunnyside Shines is a community organization that works to boost the local economy by uplifting the commercial district in Sunnyside.
Sunnyside Restaurant Week has shown an increase in business for participating restaurants each year. Ninety-five percent of participating businesses reported a noticeable bump in customers after the festivities last year.
“Sunnyside Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for everyone,” said Dirk McCall, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “It makes for a great date night for our local residents, but we also want New Yorkers from outside the neighborhood and even visitors to the city to come discover one of the city’s best neighborhoods while having a delicious and memorable meal.”
McCall recently took over as executive director of Sunnyside Shines after dedicating 26 years to community organizing, government relations and labor affairs. He said he looks forward to helping the small businesses in the area and put the commercial corridor “on steroids.”
Sunnyside Shines partners with local leaders like Council member Julie Won and the New York City Department of Small Business Services to make the event possible. Won said that her district has some of the best food in New York and represents the diverse cultures in the city.
“Sunnyside Restaurant Week highlights the diversity and hard work of our family-owned eateries and I am glad that we are able to celebrate them all this week,” Won said. “This is the best time to explore the great food we have and support the people who make it all possible.”
Tom Grech, CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said that restaurants are the lifeblood of Sunnyside and communities throughout Queens. According to data from the state comptroller, New York City restaurants provide hundreds of thousands of jobs, stimulating the economy and bringing billions in taxable sales.
“Our world-renowned dining and nightlife add character to our neighborhoods, attract visitors from across the globe and create jobs and economic opportunity for Queens residents,” Grech said. “I encourage everyone to visit Sunnyside for restaurant week and explore the diverse culinary options on offer. Whether you’re returning to an old favorite or visiting someplace new, you’ll be helping small businesses recover from the challenges of the pandemic while enjoying a fantastic meal.”
Punda Tibetan Restaurant, located at 3935 47th Ave., is one of the many small businesses participating in Sunnyside Restaurant Week. Punda Tibetan has been featured in The New York Times for its authentic food courtesy of owner Tenzing Tsering.
Tsering said that his restaurant has been struggling throughout the pandemic, losing about 75% of its business.
Lyft has also partnered with Sunnyside Shines to host this weeklong event. Lyft will offer discounted ride codes for a ride home from the event.
Also, each time a customer orders the Restaurant Week deal at a participating restaurant, they will receive a sticker on their Restaurant Week card. Patrons who collect three stickers can return their card to any participating restaurant and be entered to win a gift card.
Cards will be available at all participating restaurants and will be distributed throughout the neighborhood during April. Additionally, diners get to vote for the best server and three servers will win prizes.