Eat in Queens Restaurant Month returning for second year in March

Queens Together has delivered thousands of meals to communities across the borough since it was founded in 2020.
Photo courtesy of Queens Together

Queens Together, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce food insecurity while also promoting restaurants, is gearing up for its second Eat in Queens Restaurant Month in March. 

Last year, the organization partnered with 203 different restaurants across the borough and was able to raise $36,000 that paid for dozens of food distribution events in partnership with community organizations. The funds were mostly collected from restaurant goers who donated $25 or more, and in turn were able to receive discounts and promotions at any of the participating restaurants. 

This year Queens Together is changing up the model by scaling back the number of participating restaurants to be able to offer more promotion, through its website and social media, to the ones that sign on. This will allow the nonprofit to give the restaurants more attention, and hopefully attract new diners. But just like last year, foodies will still be able to take advantage of promos and events at participating restaurants with a $25 donation to Queens Together.

“We think it is a great way to battle these two problems. You celebrate the restaurants, help them make money during the slow season, and use the money raised for food relief to help feed people and families who are going without,” said Jonathan Forgash, the founder of Queens Together. “We believe it’s the community taking care of itself.”

So far, 23 restaurants are participating including Zaab Zaab in Elmhurst, Nier’s Tavern in Woodhaven and Bourbon Street in Bayside. While some restaurants will offer participants 15% off their entire bill, others will be offering a buy one get one half off promo for appetizers. Queens Together hopes to have 50 restaurants signed up before the end of the month. 

Those who donate to the organization will receive an all-access card to show at participating restaurants to take advantage of their promotion during the month. Those who donate can also participate in the EIQ Restaurant Month Challenge, either alone or as team, to make the experience for fund. Two grand prizes, one for most funds raised and other for most restaurants visited, are equivalent to $1,000 in the form of gift cards to restaurants and food tours.  

Queens Together started during the early days of the pandemic, when food insecurity was heightened, and many community organizations stepped up to feed their neighbors. The organization raised funds, paid restaurants that were losing revenue to prepare meals, and then distributed them through organizations such as MinKwon Center in Flushing and Jackson Heights Community Fridge. 

“Now we’re not putting out fires, we’re building our systems, we’re solidifying our systems,” added Forgash on how the organization has developed over the past four years since the pandemic. 

But the same model of supporting restaurants, while also addressing food insecurity in partnership with organizations that know the needs and cultural preferences of their communities, continues.

“Everyone here is really community minded,” said Forgash. “They loved that by offering a little bit of a discount, they got to help get people to spend money at restaurants and donate for a good cause.”

Queen Together will host a launch party for the month-long event at AleWife Brewery in Sunnyside on Feb. 29. Food will be provided from the Beer and Cheese Collective in Astoria.