The Finch in Clinton Hill. Photo via The Finch

In New York, it’s not just the people who evolve: our restaurants, too, are ever changing, especially when looking at a multi-century timeline.

Native New Yorker Victoria Flexner, co-founder of the Brooklyn-based “historical supper club,” research lab and test kitchen Edible History, is giving a Brooklyn Brainery lecture on the history of New York’s restaurants from the early 19th century on.


The sleepy Columbia Street Waterfront is getting a new casual dining option with Orchard Cafe, a farm-to-table restaurant opening a week from Friday. The spot at 257 Columbia Street doesn’t have a finalized menu yet, but they plan to focus on locally sourced veggies, whole fish, lean meats and freshly squeezed juices.

Owner Julie Solovyeva also wants to serve beer, wine and spirits from Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York, as soon as the cafe’s liquor license is approved. Orchard will open next Friday, July 11, and plans to operate seven days a week from 7 am to 11:30 pm.

Click through to see what the interior looks like!

Orchard Cafe Coming to Columbia Street Waterfront Soon [Brownstoner] GMAP


Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email

The Spot: Butcher Bar, 37-08 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: Astoria’s first local, organic, and natural butcher shop opened in 2011 but serves more than just raw meat; it also serves Kansas City-style BBQ.

“Our humble little shop, Butcher Bar is a butcher shop first, and a BBQ restaurant second,” says Matthew Katakis, the restaurant’s founder and Queens native. As a Queens native, Katakis was familiar with the Astoria restaurant scene and pounced on an open space across on 30th Avenue to expand the area’s offerings.

“We wanted to give options to our community and only offer hormone-free, antibiotic-free and pasture-raised-and-grazed animals that were given a humane lifestyle and a respectful death and conversion to our dinner tables,” says Katakis.

The Dish: Burnt Ends have been on the menu of this Astoria BBQ restaurant since its opening. If you want them, arrive early: They are always the first dish to sell out each day. “These ‘meat candy’ are made from the fatty deckle, off the top of the brisket which needs extra smoking time to melt the fat and make it edible,” says Katakis. “Other places end up just cutting it off and throwing it away, but this in fact is a real delicacy.”

The Butcher Bar smokers are running consistently filled with a rotating menu of meats – ribs, pork belly, and sausage among other cuts – but the burnt ends are always on the menu and given special attention. “We smoke them for over 16 hours and add a second rub to them after about 12.5 hours in our smoker,” explains Katakis.

The restaurant’s motto is “Eat less meat, but eat good meat,” but if you want that meat to be Butcher Bar’s burnt ends, you better get to the restaurant before they sell out.


Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email

The Spot: The Thirsty Koala, 35-12 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria.

The Deal: Although Queens has one of the most diverse populations in New York City, Australian cuisine has yet to gain a foothold. The Thirst Koala aims to change that. Owner and co-owner Katherine Fuchs says the restaurant prides itself on sourcing local ingredients and building relationships with long-standing purveyors, such as the 100-year-old Caleb Haley in the Fulton Fish Market.

As is the case in cooking non-local cuisine, The Thirsty Koala can’t always use local ingredients and instead uses bush tucker, ingredients indigenous to Australia. Many of the bush tucker ingredients are meats: kangaroo from Queensland, lamb from Queensland and Tasmania, and award-winning beef from the Manning Valley in New South Wales.

The Dish: For diners new to Australian cuisine, Fuchs recommends the appetizer of pasture-fed grilled Australian lamb lollies. Although the restaurant’s aim is to use locally sourced ingredients, the lamb lollies are one of the few dishes to use imported meat. Fuchs imports the lamb to ensure the correct taste.

“I use Australian lamb because I have not found a locally sourced product that compares with its subtle yet robust flavor and tender texture,” she says.

The meat is rubbed with wattle seeds, one of the bush tucker seasonings on the menu.

“Wattle seed has coffee notes, but when used with our lollies it lends a toasty flavor,” Fuchs says. “I serve them with caramelized pumpkin and a small salad of rocket [arugula] and seasonal fruit, which at the moment is pomegranate.”

The combination of local ingredients and bush tucker creates a fresh and unique flavor for guests familiar and new to Australian cuisine.