Do you know what can you eat Greek Food in Astoria Queens? Order like a Greek and feel alike? Have you’ve been hungry for culture, history and gyros, souvlaki or baklava? Take a stroll down in Astoria, Queens, you’ll be amazed. Surely noticed the wealth of Greek restaurants, taverns, cafes, stores, bakeries, churches and clubs lining up the streets.
Why? That’s because, tucked away in the multicultural neighborhood of Astoria, there is a blooming community of Greek-Americans that have been making this little corner of NYC their home since the turn of the last century.
The early days
The story of Astoria as a “Greek isle in the New York City sea”, as The New York Times dubbed it, started around the early 1900s. That’s when the first Greek immigrants made their way to Manhattan in search of the American dream.
Greek migration was slowed or halted at times, but it peaked after WWII and by late 1960s Astoria had already developed into a hotspot for Greeks. Now, the Greek community in New York City is the second largest in the world.
In the decades that followed, the neighborhood continued to welcome many other cultures, including but not limited to: Chinese, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, Portuguese, all of which have turned the area into a cosmopolitan melting pot.
Putting down roots
Greeks made themselves at home in Astoria, but they also held on to tradition by establishing schools and Orthodox churches all over the neighborhood. In the words of Eugene Bouzalakos, a Greek immigrant who first set foot on American soil in 1979,
“As soon as you arrived in Astoria, you had your deli, your fish market, your butcher […] you didn’t even have to speak English. The schools spoke Greek, the church people spoke Greek. You didn’t miss Greece because you had everything.”
Traditionally, Greeks occupied the area bounded by Ditmars Boulevard, Steinway Street, 36th Avenue and the East River. As years went by, more and more Greeks moved away from Ditmars Boulevard and on to Broadway. Of course, this is not a strict perimeter, and Greek establishments can be found all over the neighborhood.
Food as heritage
Perhaps more importantly than culture, language or faith, Greeks brought with them food. Traditional Greek food from foreign lands, full of refreshing Mediterranean flavors, which they prepare just like in the homeland, the “Hellas”
Greek cooking is in many ways a family matter. Even the most pretentious of Astoria’s Greek restaurants are committed to staying true to tradition; variations exist only as a result of different places of origin (e.g. various islands).
Business and dining are deeply rooted into Greek culture, yet most Hellenic immigrants coming to Astoria in the last century started with low jobs like flower vendors or waiters and worked their way up to success. Now they are the ones setting the trends as business owners.
Greek restaurants face a lot of competition from Middle Eastern food, Mexican, Italian and Chinese food venues, as well as the ever-expanding fast-food chains, so they must rise to the challenge and keep growing as they have for decades.
In the midst of the Greek culture and food haven that is Astoria, Queens lies Souvlaki Bar, a go-to spot for wholesome Greek food dining. Both Greeks and Americans love the taverna like restaurant Souvlaki Bar for its welcoming atmosphere, traditional music, huge range of options, kind and friendly service and most of all – the amazing food! Our guests agree that our gyros and souvlaki are the best in all of Astoria – and they taste just like they do back in Greece!
Join them and taste history with a modern flair surrounded by the best Greek food in NYC! Serving everything from gyros and souvlaki to burgers, salads and finger-licking desserts, we bring the authentic taste of Greece, to you right here, in Greektown, USA.