Celebrate Mother’s Day At The Queensboro – A Modern American Bistro With A Side Of Community

In my quest to find elevated, destination-worthy dining spots amidst the wide array of traditional ethnic cantinas that populate Queens, I’ve been sampled sumptuous traditional and globally-inspired seafood at Off the Hook Raw Bar & Grill, and noshed on Iberian delicacies at Sala Astoria – I’m spoiled, I know. In the mood for a laid-back culinary-forward neighborhood joint that relies on fresh, seasonal ingredients, I was lucky to stumble on the Queensboro. It’s a modern American gastropub founded to honor the diversity and humanity of its neighborhood with bold, perfectly executed flavor profiles and altruism. The Queensboro is also a Northern Queens hotspot – the outer borough It Girl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a regular.

Founded in 2018 by neighbors with restaurateur experience who’d relocated to Jackson Heights from other boroughs, the menu focuses on dishes that incorporate fresh, farm-to-table ingredients from the Jackson Heights Farmers Market and finds inspiration from the global cuisines – Indian, Latin American, Caribbean, and Asian –  for which Queens is an unparalleled foodie hub. Chef Tony Lui, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with stints at 3-Michelin Star Martin Berasategui in Spain and unknown Manhattan eatery Daniel  –  incorporates dishes one doesn’t always see in the NYC dining scenes as a shout-out to his native Hawaii. His big island favorites include spam Garlic Fried Rice, Pork Adobo, and Hawaiian Fried Chicken. Prepared traditionally with rice flour and naturally gluten-free, the crispy, crowd-pleasing wings, thighs, and drums are only available on Tuesdays. 

Depending on his mood, the Chef indulges a bit of nostalgia and whimsy with other seasonal surprises that tickle his gustatory fancy and make best use of local produce, meat, and seafood. When craving a favorite childhood snack, the Chef brainstormed a fresh, farm-to-table take on the fast food Filet-of-fish. To mark the long-awaited arrival of spring, Cherry Blossom Profiteroles with strawberry ice cream and white chocolate – cherry blossom sauce will satisfy any sweet cravings.

If anything, the Queensboro is an inviting and chill destination for lunch, dinner, and breakfast, or any time of day. One of the partners, Dudley Stewart, runs the front of the house and is always there to greet diners with a smile. Upon entering, one notices the hearth of the resto – a massive wood-burning pizza oven which, in addition to the stunning visual of pizza toppings melting and crisping in the heat, turns out the signature Garlic Clam Bread. A generous slathering of parmesan and clam-infused garlic butter on a pillowy chunk of artisanal sourdough is available all day as well as on the Happy Hour Menu, as are square pizza slices. The Happy Cocktail Menu includes a crisp Vinho Verde, Sangria, and Homemade Frosé to wash them down for under $8 dollars a glass.

The daily dinner menu focuses on traditional bistro salads and mains, including oysters, shrimp cocktail, pastas for every palate, steak frites, and a grilled fish of the day. A crowd-favorite, the Roasted Jerk Chicken with authentic Jamaican spices, has been on the menu since the restaurant opened.

Vegans and vegetarians will savor the Queensboro’s many plant-based offerings, from the Garganelli Pasta with Kale Pesto, Homemade Veggie Burger, Snap Pea Toast, and Sunchcoke Salad. The always available Veggie Plate, a selection of 4 sides – Rainbow carrots & hazelnuts, Charred broccoli rabe, Butternut squash purée, Tahini-lime broccoli with peanuts, and Szechuan bok choy – works equally well as a main or for tapas-style dining.

In addition to the regular brunch menu, the $42 Mother’s Day two-course prix-fixe menu includes chili lime salt fruit salad and bread basket of croissants, Ricotta fritters and Asparagus rolls for the first course. Notable second-course options –  Baked eggs with spiced chickpeas, tomato and yogurt, Pancakes with dulce de leche, Sweet potato – chorizo hash, Rye Flatbread with shrimp salad, and a dry-aged burger –  lean into the culinary diversity Chef Tony incorporates into all his menus. 

During the work week the Queensboro doubles as a co-working space tailor-made for freelancers and remote workers. The Q office offers a pared down cafe and lunch menu of special combos –  coffee, tea, granola and pastries  priced from $5 – and free Wi-Fi, Tuesday – Friday from 9am – 5pm. After the 5 pm, the lights may dim, but not the convivial atmosphere.

Every other Wednesday, the restaurant hosts Board Game Night, the occasional Open Mic Night for poetry and jam sessions, as well as Girl Scout meetings in the basement event space. The day that I visited there was a huge banquet which I’d assumed was a massive corporate retreat given the numerous platters and pizzas and the overall joyous atmosphere – I was wrong. The Queensboro was hosting a charity function for a philanthropic organization that feeds hungry migrants. It was then that I understood why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez awarded the Queensboro with a Congressional commendation – their good works are central and unique to their menu as the Garlic Clam Bread.

** Photos courtesy of local photographer Emilia Ramos @desahogocinematico.

Gesha-Marie Bland


Not bland at all. Gesha-Marie Bland is an essayist, Vanity Fair-published film and television writer, and unrepentant beauty junkie who jumpstarted her career at NYU’s Master’s Program in Cinema Studies. In homage to her beauty icons Jeanne Moreau, Dolly Parton, and Grace Jones, she is forever in search of the perfect cat-eye liner, a killer pair of heels, and unforgettable statement accessories. Currently NYC-based, this dual American-French citizen still wears all-black and has a soft spot for clean beauty, pharmaceutical-grade actives, and most ingredients sourced from vineyards in the south of France. She loves New Wave cinema, Mary Gaitskill’s fiction, Spain, and matcha double-shots. After selling "The Ripper," her Alexander McQueen-Issie Blow biopic to the Cannes-winning production company Maven Pictures, she remains convinced fashion and couture are the next frontiers for edgy cinematic stories.