Astoria, Tastoria's Astoria
Aug 22, 2012

Tastoria’s Astoria: Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna- come for the ship’s wheel chandelier, stay for the food

Get excited, Astoria! Today’s post marks the first in a NEW We Heart Astoria series, “Tastoria’s Astoria,”  a column about unknown and perhaps under appricated food gems right here in (…)

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Get excited, Astoria! Today’s post marks the first in a NEW We Heart Astoria series, “Tastoria’s Astoria,”  a column about unknown and perhaps under appricated food gems right here in our very own neighborhood. For those not familiar with the stylings of Tastoria, let me introduce Sue Yacka, a non-profiteer by day and lover of all things food, beer, Twitter, and Astoria by night. Please help us in giving Sue a warm WHA welcome! -Mackenzi

Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna is not the type of Astoria restaurant that you just stumble into.  An unassuming establishment located a few blocks west of 23rd Avenue’s larger, better known Greek restaurants, Gregory’s is the kind of place you hear about from a friend, or from a friend of a friend. This is exactly how I learned about it three years ago, through my girlfriend’s co-worker, a Queens native who was living in Astoria at the time. Truth be told, I am not sure I ever would have stopped in were it not for her recommendation, and I have been grateful for it ever since.

Arriving at Gregory’s feels like arriving at someone’s home. Very likely it is the home of a beloved uncle or grandmother who has brought so much of their past here with them to Astoria. Outdoors there is a small seating area filled with folks eating and talking leisurely, for hours on end, seeming entirely at home. The inside is brightly lit and the walls are adorned with large-scale seascape murals that give the otherwise tiny restaurant the illusion of vast expansiveness, a context of long histories and transnational lives. In the center of the ceiling, a beautiful ship’s wheel chandelier steadies and centers you back in the present moment: you are hungry, you look around for a menu, it’s time to eat.

For the longest time, my go to meal was their delicious beef gyro platter, a heaping build-it-yourself marvel that included grilled meat and pita, salad and feta, and Gregory’s phenomenally fresh, crisp tzaziki. Eventually I came to love their Keftethes, Greek meatballs made with ground beef, prepared with an uncommonly moist center and a slightly crispy outer crust. Gregory’s achieves this same perfect texture in their fried crab cakes, another favorite dish.

An unabashed carnivore, I recently had the pleasure of having dinner at Gregory’s with friends, some of whom have vegetarian and pescatarian diets, and the meal was no less satisfying. We particularly enjoyed the cold appetizer platter which has three vegetarian offerings and one dish containing fish roe. These included a smoky, garlicky shredded eggplant salad that I have been dreaming about ever since; Tirokafteri, a mildly spicy, spreadable feta cheese mezze flavored with red peppers; the aforementioned sharply fresh Tzatziki; and delicious, creamy Taramosalata, a traditional Greek appetizer made with salted, cured fish roe. We also tried the Saganaki, a pan seared Greek cheese whose modest presentation (no flaming platters at Gregory’s) belies a perfectly prepared dish, a slightly crisp shell and soft, salty interior.

There is no doubt you will have an excellent meal if you visit Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna, but for me, most importantly, the place gets to the heart of Astoria’s food culture. Like so many places in Astoria, fresh ingredients, large portions and reasonable prices rule the day at Gregory’s, as do epic flavors and kind service. It is a place that attracts old and new residents of the neighborhood alike, and a place whose popularity spreads quietly by word of mouth but has a long-standing, well-established reputation for excellence. And it is a place where no matter how tumultuous your day has been, a suspended ship’s wheel chandelier will help set you on the right course.
Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna
2602 23rd Avenue, Long Island City, NY
 (718) 777-5511 ‎

6 Comments

Astoria Welcome Wagon: a new way to get to know your new neighborhood | tastoriaqueens

[…] The recommendation for my very favorite restaurant in Astoria came from someone whom I had never met. It was shortly after my girlfriend moved to Astoria (and a year before I was even living here) when one of her coworkers, a Queens native and longtime Astorian, told her about an inconspicuous little Greek restaurant at the corner of 23rd Avenue and 26th Street called Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna. […]

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Jen Makulowich

I really like Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna — I live around the block and it’s a nice staple to have nearby when craving some Greek cuisine!

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