Astoria, Beer and Wine, Brunch, Cocktails, Food and Drink, Long Island City, Restaurants, Weekend
Aug 23, 2013

Getting Personal with Rest-au-Rant’s Tina Stipanovic

Get the inside scoop about Rest-au-Rant through their owner Tina Stipanovic – including surprising tid bits about the food, its design and more.

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Tina RAR barJust two weekends ago, the We Heart Astoria crew had the chance to visit Rest-au-Rant, one of our favorite off-the-beaten-path watering holes.  Loving the chilled out vibe and the thoughtful menu items, we were invited to sample brunch (more to come on that soon), during which we also had the chance to speak to Tina, Rest-au-Rant’s owner and passionate, long-time Astorian.  It was fun to pick Tina’s brain about the neighborhood, and how she sees her place fitting in, or more appropriately standing out.  Without further ado, here’s Tina:

1. What inspired you to open Rest-au-Rant? 

Tina Stipanovic – I love the bar/restaurant scene, food and I love hospitality. It’s a very creative and constantly evolving job.  As a student and later as an adult, I worked through every aspect of the restaurant industry.  Eventually I wanted to try my hand at owning a restaurant.  It was the next logical step if I was going to grow professionally.

2. Tell us about how Rest-au-Rant has evolved over the years?

TS – It has become easier to find on google?!  Just kidding – it hasn’t actually.

It started out as a little bar off the beaten path in an unassuming area that isn’t LIC or Astoria. Yet our offer was always different, well priced and of great quality and so our following grew.

It was those people who love RaR bar who shaped it the most. It has become a great neighborhood spot, a place to catch up with old friends or meet new ones. Our neighborhood is full of really cool young professionals of all kinds including, artists, comedians, musicians, foodies – people who have found their place, a home away from home in RaR. It has become a little oasis in that area.

3. What’s the most surprising thing Astorians may not know about Rest-au-Rant?

TS – Maybe that I’m actually not a chef. I learned to cook in my own kitchen because I’m a food fiend. I actually have an MFA in fine arts. I’m a sculptor and I did most of the work in RaR myself. Customers are often surprised about that. They’ll ask me where I got something and they’re surprised when I tell them I made it. I built the bar, the wine shelf, the tabletops, the chandeliers but I also created the menu!

4. What’s your favorite thing on the menu?

TS – The wine after my shift

5. What do you most heart about Astoria?

TS – The food scene of course! Astoria has been dishing out delicious food for years. Before its recent recognition as a food destination, Astoria was filled with great restaurants. The best part is that these are not celebrity chefs.  Instead, they are regular people – mom and pop restaurants that serve a piece of their culture and their heart, which its amazing! Some are still waiting to be discovered. Also the diversity of the cultures that can be found here allows you to travel the world through their kitchens. It’s a great neighborhood and in general a great borough for food.

Rest-au-Rant30-01 35th Avenue, LIC.  718.729.9009

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