Astoria Burger Club Welcomes Executive Chef Francis Derby as a Consultant

burgerclubWhat’s for brunch?

Avocado Eggs Benedict and Stuffed French Toast with mascarpone cheese, dates, cinnamon honey and walnuts – two of many new brunch menu items at Astoria’s Burger Club. Yes, please!

Burger Club, located at 32-02 30th Avenue in Astoria provides countless artisanal burger options, along with handcut fries and shakes.

Starting tomorrow, Astoria foodies will be delighted to hear that Executive Chef Francis Derby, will be joining the Burger Club staff to update their brunch and a la carte offerings.

Derby is the former executive chef at Momofuku Ssäm and The Cannibal restaurants, both of which are in Manhattan. Citing over 25 years of cooking experience, Derby is well known throughout the restaurant community. Derby has moved on from working four kitchens in both Los Angeles and New York City, to work with Burger Club right here in Queens.

The atmosphere at Burger Club is cozy and features garage style doors that can be opened during the warm summer nights. With wooden benches, the decor is modern but welcoming.

The new dishes customers can expect to see this Fall include, avocado eggs benedict, stuffed french toast, a fried chicken biscuit with soft scrambled eggs, a brand new “Hangover Burger”, a kale salad and smoked salmon.

“We are honored and excited to present this new brunch menu to both loyal customers and new residents of Astoria,” a spokesperson for Burger Club said.

Brunch is available from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Don’t miss out on some of the best burgers Astoria has to offer!

Check out their IG here.

Variety YPC networking & fundraising event this Thursday at Chick-N-Soup, Astoria

This Thursday, October 26th, The Variety Boys & Girls Club’s Young Professionals Committee is hosting a networking & fundraising event at a new local restaurant… and the whole community is invited.

From 6:30-8:30PM, a group of around 15 YPC Committee members and their friends will meet at Chick-N-Soup in Astoria (30-12 Astoria Blvd) to eat, drink, network, and support the mission of the Variety Boys & Girls Club.

ypceventOCT There will be food & drink for all. Suggested donation is $25 per person, and all proceeds will be donated towards the Club’s afterschool programs.

“If you are interested in helping kids in our community and expanding  your business network, come join us,” said John Sanchez, Director of Marketing at the Queens Ledger Newspaper and Chair of the  Young Professionals Committee. “Invite your friends!” he added.

YPC member, Lou Trujillo, recently opened up Chick-N-Soup, and  will be providing american-style entrees as well as beer, wine, and  sangria.
“Our committee is very warm and welcoming,” said Tom, marketing manager of United Print by day, and Vice Chair of the YPC by night. “The YPC has helped me develop both business and personal relationships that have been beneficial,” Tom added.
“Thursday (10/26) is a nationwide event day, ‘Lights On Afterschool,’ celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities,” said Matt Troy, Executive Director of the Variety Boys & Girls Club. “We thank you for your support,” said Troy.

Email [email protected] to RSVP.

Assemblywoman’s interns learning the ropes

Back row:  Emily Perez, Tiffany Chu, James Smolic, Cleopatra Papadopoulos, Christina Papadopoulos Front row seated: Chaya Halberstam, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Jessica Mendieta, Amanda Robinson

Back row:  Emily Perez, Tiffany Chu, James Smolic, Cleopatra Papadopoulos, Christina Papadopoulos
Front row seated: Chaya Halberstam, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, Jessica Mendieta, Amanda Robinson

You may remember your first internship, running to get a superior coffee or picking up their dry cleaning.

That’s not exactly what the interns for Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas are doing this summer. The office’s 12 interns are researching legislative issues, posting on social media, organizing constituent concerns and checking out quality of life issues all across Astoria.

They’ve identified several items for the office to work on, including potholes, deteriorating pavement, overflowing garbage baskets, leaking or broken fire hydrants, toppled or faded street signs or faded crosswalk markings. With each case, a staff member follows up with a 311 call.

“When I was in college, I interned for the former NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and received invaluable insight into how government can work for every day New Yorkers,” Simotas said. “I am so happy to offer that same experience to the next generation of leaders.”

The interns are students at the following schools: CUNY Baruch College, CUNY Hunter College,  Columbia University, Long Island University, Mt. Holyoke College (Massachusetts) and St. Vincent Ferrer High School. Her office noted that all internships are unpaid.

Simotas is now hiring interns for the fall. If you’re interested, call 718-545-3889 or email [email protected].

Astoria subway stations to undergo renovations

Wikimedia/ Harrison Leong

Wikimedia/ Harrison Leong

Astoria is about to become the most inconvenienced neighborhood in all of Queens. That’s because a number of stations, along one of the city’s busiest routes, will be closed down for renovation.

The following stations, which all serve the N and Q lines, will be closed: 30th Avenue, Broadway, 36th Avenue and 39th Avenue. All of the stations are along 31st Street.

Astoria Councilman Costa Constantinides said he was excited about the renovations, which the community deserves.

“We deserve to have stations in the 21st century that are renovated, that are clean, that are going to serve the people of Astoria,” Constantinides said. “We’re going to work with the MTA and we’re going to hold them accountable that service here is not disrupted as we get what we need and deserve as a neighborhood, that we’re not further inconvenienced.”

Citywide, there will be 30 stations undergoing complete renovations including Queens stations in Jamaica, Forest Hills and Woodside. According to Governor Cuomo, the renewal projects will take about six months to a year to complete. Furthermore, most projects should be completed by 2018 but they will definitely be done by 2020. That’s quite a long time to go without stations that are so often used in the community.

There is currently not a set date for the stations to close.

You can take a better look at all of the stations that will be renovated.

Popular pet store reopens in new Astoria location

Carolina B./NYC Pet Services

Carolina B./NYC Pet Services

Roughly one year after opening NYC Pet Services on 30th Avenue, owner Samantha Aguilar has closed its original location and reopened at 31-21 31st Street this week due to growth in business.

The new office is much bigger, a 1,200 sq. ft., and is located near two subway stations, the 30th Avenue and Broadway stations for the N and Q trains. It is also on street level while the original location was on the second floor.

With the new office, Aguilar is able to board about 50 dogs in a cage-less setting. They are given walks, feeding, fresh water, cuddle time, play time and pet pick up and drop off. There is also a $30-per day doggy daycare which includes staff walking the furry pal.

Beyond pups, the NYC Pet Services have also cared for cats, rabbits, hamsters, ferrets, birds and more.

Pols collect coats in Astoria


Left, Councilman Costa Constantinides, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas thank their constituents for donating coats to their joint coat drive.

Throughout December, elected official in Astoria have been collecting coats, and last week they donated nearly 100 to families in need.

“Families in need can use our help this holiday season, particularly as the weather changes,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “Warm clothing is a necessity for anyone living in the city during the winter. Many in this city lack access to a warm home or a coat to protect themselves from the cold.”

The lightly used winter coats were donated to New York Cares, a city-based nonprofit organization which runs an annual coat drive. They were assisted by Teamsters Local 814 and Globe Storage and Moving, who provided materials for collecting and transporting the coats.

State Senator Michael Gianaris was thankful to his constituents who took the time to drop the coats off at his office and the offices of Constantinides and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas.

“The holiday season is a great time to give back and it is always important to remember those who may be less fortunate,” he said.

Muslim man attacked in his Astoria store



It’s happening. While presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to spew hate towards the Muslim community in an already tense period in American history, physical attacks on innocent Muslims are occurring. Most recently, a Muslim man was attacked in his own Astoria store.

The man, 53-year-old Sarker Haque, suffered a bloody beating on Saturday afternoon at Fatima Food Mart on 21st Avenue. He was beaten near an ice-cream cooler by a man who police have identified as Florida native Piro Kolvani, 55. Haque told Pix 11 during the incident, he asked the man why he was attacking him, to which Kolvani answered “I kill Muslims.”

Two people were able to help Haque before Kolvani could do more harm. For instance, a Latino man that Haque knows as a customer, grabbed hold of Kolvani and got him off of Haque after hearing Haque’s screams. The man asked Haque not to publicly identify him. Another good Samaritan called 911.

Haque was left with a black eye and an inflamed arm that he had previously dislocated last year. Police are investigating whether the attack was a hate crime.