Astoria, Restaurants
Nov 11, 2014

What Astorians Want To See In the Old Athens Cafe Space

Eastern European dumplings, just one of the amazing types of foods you can find in Astoria (P.S. Happy third anniversary, Bear!) Yesterday we wrote that Athens Cafe closed and that (…)

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Image by Bear

Image by Bear

Eastern European dumplings, just one of the amazing types of foods you can find in Astoria (P.S. Happy third anniversary, Bear!)

Yesterday we wrote that Athens Cafe closed and that a rumored pizza joint was opening in its place. Well, on our Facebook page, this did not sit well with our readers, and frankly, we think there is plenty of pizza now in the neighborhood (we’d make an exception for the awesomeness of the bar pies at Margot’s Pizza, run by a local Astorian). We heard from various sources that Bareburger is rumored to have taken over the space, but we contacted them and they did not want to comment. Take that as you will.

Once we know for sure what’s coming to this location, we’ll let you know.

Reading the comment section of our Facebook post on the issue, it was fascinating to see what Astorians would like to see in that space. Another Greek cafe wasn’t high on the list. Here are some of the things that were mentioned:

What Astorians Want

  • A great grocery store
  • Traditional Vietnamese
  • Dim Sum
  • Chipotle (but apparently “hipsters love it”)
  • Wild Ginger
  • Vegan
  • Ethiopian
  • Salad place
  • All You Can Eat Korean Barbecue
  • Caribbean (check out Melting Pot if you haven’t yet!)
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Tea Lounge like in Park Slope
  • Filipino
  • Sichuan
  • Chick-Fil-A
  • Good Thai (Pye Boat Noodle on Broadway is particularly good)
  • Argentine Steak House
  • Good indie ice cream shop (check out Sweet Janes for this)
  • Bookstore (Astoria Bookshop is not far)
  • Knitting Store

What some Astorians do NOT want to see:

  • Pizza (except Two Boots)
  • Nightclubs like Cavo or Don Coqui
  • “Gentrifying/Brooklyn-esque venues”

As a reminder, here are the vast food offerings already in Astoria.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.



NO chains. Kiss of death.

Glad to see CLC, at least, thinks it should still be a sidewalk cafe! And frappes are essential. Athens Cafe is a neighborhood anchor. It would kill me to see a chain anything in that space.

Emily RJ

I would personally love to see some upscale dining options. Everything else on 30th is cafe/club/bistro style, mostly casual dining and there isn’t anything I’d want to really “go out” for. I don’t think we need another bar, but I would be so happy if a place that was classic/craft cocktail-minded moved in. A few have cropped up over the last year with varying degrees of success, mostly due to the staff/owners. I definitely would love a knitting store/tea/coffee shop combo. How cool that would be!


Trader Joes!! Trader Joes!! Also an authentic Chinese noodle/roast meat/Ollies type place would make a KILLING in Astoria. I’m not talking trendy ramen either.

Tom Bosley

How can you say No Williamsburg Hipsterish spots and then put we need Killer Brunch spots, Vegan Restaurants, Gluten Free Restaurants and French Bistros? Obviously you have never been to Williamsburg and have been reading about it on the internet because you named all the places that made Williamsburg popular.


If we’re going to get creative, how about a Pommes Frites? Or something similar to Veselka…now *that* would be something! Not seeing too many pierogie joints around town ;) Although I have two requests if it winds up being a food joint: 1) please oh *please* keep the outdoor seating for fun summer people-watching and 2) Kindly keep making Greek-style frappes — that was my main draw to Athens; my favorite icy caffeinated one-two punch! No one elses’s came close in the neighborhood & I’m sad to see Athens Cafe go…

Pana G.

Definetly build and create something that the neighborhood does not have.
The Bareburger owners need to scope out what 30th Avenue does not have, and when they bought into this location they probably thought about it already.

No chicken or souvlaki places.
No more trendy bars, theres enough.
No nightclubs/lounges.
Not another cafe. Theres 6 here on 30th.
No spanish tapas kinda places because Don Coqui and Mexi BBQ are there.
No more yogurt spots.
No hipster Williamsburgish places.

What you definitely can consider is:

Organic Market
Gluten Free Restaurant
A really nice steakhouse
French bistro
A killer brunch spot
A different franchise like Shake Shack/Chipotle/Panera Bread


Really great Sichuan would OWN that area. (Thinking about dan dan noodles, pork belly with leek and whole roasted fish with chilis right now has me weak in the knees) As would korean BBQ…but I see that a korean place is opening up on Broadway and like 36th? Only had Ethiopian food once, and I’d love that in the area too.


I have to say that I’ve been really pleased with the amount of good Asian restaurants that have been opening in the neighborhood, from Pye Boat Noodle to the Bao Shoppe. Haven’t been to Mamu yet, but they look promising. However, I have yet to find an awesome Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood. I’d love a really good Chinese restaurant or Vietnamese.

Please, no more nail salons, fro-yo, bakeries, or Greek Cafes, hookah shops, or lame bars.


Burger Club which is far better than Bareburger is right across the street, that would be bad.


HA! Oh man how I wish that Associated was a TJ’s. Produce that isn’t rotting? That would be life-changing.

My vote for Athens: something vegan friendly! (which seems like a surprisingly popular one ex. chipotle, wild ginger, sweet janes, etc)


Omg. Vietnamese though. Please please please please. I need some banh mi in my life, stat.


Until that happens, I recommend Jo Ju in Elmhurst. Delicious banh mi! There is also a decent Vietnamese restaurant in LIC, called Cyclo.


Vegan please! For as long as I lived in that neighborhood, I could never find a decent vegan spot to dine at.


I want that Associated at 31st ave and 38th street to turn into a Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s if you are reading this please take over that Agrossiated and turn it into a TJ’s


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