Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Closing Time ?

Sadly, or perhaps not sadly depending on how you look at it, there's been a bit of a backlog of news about local stores and restaurants closing. Here's a quick rundown:

- Q Bistro, the restaurant on Ascan that used to be Thai and then reopened with a kind of an eclectic-modern style menu, closed about a week or so ago. I quite possibly was among the last guests at this restaurant. And I was left a bit unnerved by the experience, I have to say. While they had done a nice job of redesigning the restaurant, there really wasn't a lot of logic to what they were doing. For one thing, when you create an open kitchen for your guests to watch the food being made, shouldn't that enhance the dining experience, and not make the visitor uneasy? I sat right across from the open kitchen area as I ate and watching what looked like short-order cooks dump what I swear was cans of tomato sauce into what they were preparing was really not the most dinner-enhancing experience.

And here are a couple of other goners, Clear, an interent service provider on Austin St., and Austin Chemists, a small drugstore on Austin right near Ascan (my friend who lives near there said it seemed they spent more time constructing the store than actually being open.) 



I have a very good feeling about what is happening down on Austin St. near Ascan, by the way. Is it just me, or is that area becoming very interesting, between the amazing La Boulangerie, the very enjoyable Brownies & Cream (I just treated myself tonight to some more of their delectable home made Coffee Brownie ice cream - Boy, they have huge chunks of brownies in there, delish! :) ), and the bizarre, yet conversation-generating Sister Unn's. 

Could my dreams of a cute little independent cafe be next down that way? We've already come awfully close with La Boulangerie. Wouldn't the Q Bistro space make for the perfect little indie cafe, ala Park Slopes' Ozzie's, to hang out in? 

28 comments:

  1. I would love for the Boulangerie folks to expand in that space and open up a Patisserie! The cakes and such at Martha's are not the best. My husband peeked into the kitchen once and the food prep. was not sanitary at all-it grossed him out. It would be nice to have a cake shop that has the same caliber of quality as Boulangerie.

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  2. Not surprised by the failure of Clear store.

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  3. Who feels that a French restaurant would be an interesting addition to the Austin St landscape?

    We could also benefit by having an art theater in closer proximity than the Kew Gardens Theatre, which is great within itself.

    Another idea is creating some parkland where that unkempt parking lot is by Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. Ever wonder if it was a green space to begin with? Keep in mind that the property was first developed in 1928, when properties were greener.

    It would be nice to have Red Mango on Austin St. There's always variety, great taste, and you customize your yogurt. All ingredients are natural and/or organic, as opposed to Yogomonster which claims their yogurt is healthy, but then you see most artificial ingredients and aspartame listed. Oko won't reveal their ingredients. They only show you nutrition facts of how many calories. They tell you it's natural, but do you really know?

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  4. Oko wont reveal their ingredients??? WOW! I wonder if that's even legal? Nonetheless, I would never eat at a place that tries to keep whats in their food a secret, yuk~

    I noticed Bann Thai was closed, but don't know if its temporary or permanent.

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  5. Would love to see a French restaurant added to the neighborhood. Art Theater would also be excellent....anything really except another pharmacy, bank etc.... Would love to see Drake's idea of a coffee house come true, maybe with live jazz on weekends? Or is that asking too much?

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  6. Crossing Queens Blvd.November 9, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Vienna Cafe should put itself out of its misery in its current incarnation and reopen as a casual neighborhood coffee house.

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  7. I think the key to the success of any restaurant in FH is AFFORDABILITY! The middle class is shrinking and those living here have less and less disposable income to spend on dining. Thats why Vienna Cafe will fail, its too expensive and residents in FH simply cannot afford it.

    Those with higher incomes have and are moving out of FH and into LIC, Astoria, parts of Brooklyn, and of course the burbs of LI. Let the expensive restaurants open there where people have more money!

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  8. Austin Street doesn't need a French restaurant. There was one called Rouge (where Aged is now) and it closed down. If people had frequented that restaurant more, then it would still be there.

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  9. We don't need a chain like Red Mango popping up on Austin Street and pushing the mom and pop Yogo Monster and Oko out of business. If you want Red Mango, go to Rego Park where there is one already.

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  10. I disagree - I think Forest Hills could use a French restaurant, if it was better than mediocre, Im sure it would be crowded and popular. There is such an abundance of mediocre food options in Forest hills, it's hard to convince someone to eat here - even the residents.

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  11. agree with anon above ^

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  12. Had the Peking Duck salad at the Chinese food place on Restaurant Row. It was really good. Place was empty on a weekday night.

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  13. Not against French.

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  14. I think it would be better to have a nice Kosher place than French though.

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  15. Bann Thai was closed by the health department for roaches.

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  16. Roaches in Bann Thai is pretty disgusting! Andre's cannot lose their B rating which I'm sure is also due to vermin. Is it just my perception, or have the streets in FH become dirtier? Perhaps it just due to awareness of the many B grades given to the restaurants in our area?

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  17. Nasty! We have enough good Thai places around already. Make room for something else.

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  18. Can't blame Bann Thai for the roaches if they were temporarily shut down.

    The workers there are excellent and do everything right for their customers.

    Bann Thai will be up and running after they fix the problem which I am sure is not a big deal.

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  19. I disagree. Bann Thai may have nice workers, but management shouldn't have let the roach problem get to the point where it was so bad the health dept. needed to step in and close them down. This shows neglect on their part. Worse still is all the pesticide bombing that will now have to take place to eradicate the roaches. Personally, I wouldn't want to eat a meal from a place that has had to poison its kitchen, just doesn't sound safe or appetizing.

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  20. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/rii/index.shtml

    Violations recorded in the following area (s), a Notice of Violation issued and establishment re-closed by the Department of Health at the reopening inspection conducted on 11/04/2011.
    "Critical" violations are displayed in red.

    Violation points: 13

    Sanitary Violations
    1) Live roaches present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
    2) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

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  21. Live roaches present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.

    There has never been roaches in the food at Bann Thai ever. Place has been immaculately clean.

    The roaches must have formed in a hard to clean area and it definitely did not affect the food. However Bann Thai will clean up the violations quickly and reopen.

    To say that any roaches have been found in the food is false. Health inspectors went above and beyond safe food requirements here, however they saw something and Bann Thai has to correct it.

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  22. You are reading that violation incorrectly. It is present in the food area, not the food itself.

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  23. Ate there a few times-food was mediochre and pricey, atmosphere...meh. Much prefer the Thai @ Bancock Cuisine. :-)

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  24. So I was hoping Boulangerie would be a great place to bring my laptop and write, and it sort of is...nice music, great coffee and tasty things to eat. I could probably deal with with the noise from the dough thumping, but there's no restroom, even for customers, and so it's really not the cafe I was hoping for in the end. Like you, I'd love a coffee house and cafe that you could sit in for a few hours as long as you kept ordering and earned your table. Instead, we get more places like Vienna Cafe, which is too pricey for the quality of food...

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  25. I think you invented a new term: "dough thumping." I like it!

    Never thought of that, about the lack of a restroom there. Good point.

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  26. Would love a comfy cafe in that space. Still really miss Munch which was on Yellowstone and Dartmouth-they had great coffee, tasty breakfast food and panini. I think they also had jazz musicians playing during Sunday brunch.

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  27. Old Vienna is now closed on mondays, or it was closed on this monday. Beginning of the end.

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  28. I think I'll jump on this comment band-wagon :)

    Old Vienna - I initially poo-poo'd this restaurant based on the menu prices. Over the past 2 weeks I've gone there for cappuccino and dessert 3x and 1) found their desserts to be excellent, 2) did not find the prices for what I had un-reasonable and 3) had wonderful service and enjoyed the environment. I was hoping to have dinner there last night but they were closed. I will absolutely have dinner there over the upcoming week to see how the food is.

    La Boulangerie - I was hopeful that La Boulangerie would be more similar to Le Pain Quotidien, but I'll take what I can get and Francois is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

    Gloria's Pizza - LOVE that Gloria's will be opening by the Midway. FINALLY a place to grab a good slice of pizza (love the pies at Tuscan Hills, but sometimes a slice is all you need)

    Other additions that I think would be great for our neighborhood:

    - Love the idea of an indie theater, but it's highly unlikely that one of our existing theater's will switch over.

    - A Wine/Cheese bar

    - A cafe/brunch spot (the former Q space would be perfect)

    - A gastro pub

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