Once upon a time people walked out of PS 1 and got back on the subway rather than find a bite to eat in the neighborhood. But Long Island City's Hunters Point has come a long way.
Quickly changing from industrial to residential the neighborhood has seen a variety of excellent restaurants spring up in recent years to meet the culinary demands of the growing population. Several laid-back eateries offer outdoor seating, perfect for a summer lunch in the shade and for cooling down after dancing away a Saturday afternoon at the ultra-hip Warm Up party in PS1's courtyard. Here are some popular neighborhood spots favored by Long Island City locals, all good for refueling after feasting your eyes (and ears) at PS 1's contemporary art exhibits.
The Creek & Cave
The Creek & Cave is a chill Mexican grill with a full bar, pool room, and spacious outdoor patio and lounge. Their kitchen dishes out tasty Tex-Mex, with made-to-order tacos and burritos and plenty of vegetarian options, like the delicious tofu and grilled spinach burrito. For a light snack, I recommend the flautas—grilled chicken and cheddar-jack cheese wrapped in a golden flour tortilla and served with a side of sour cream.
Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m., and the drink menu includes a long list of Mexican beers and killer margaritas made with fresh orange, pineapple, and pomegranate juice. This is the place to come after PS1's Warm Up, when the restaurant hosts an after-party with live music and free PBRs for anyone still wearing their entry bracelet.
- The Creek & Cave, 10-93 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY
Lounge 47 is a stylish local hangout with a creative menu of internationally influenced dishes and bar food. For lighter fare, try the wasabi deviled eggs or share the rip & dip, an assortment of yummy spreads made from chickpeas, smoked eggplant, feta cheese, scallions, and cucumber yogurt served with spiced olives and grilled flatbread. Their herbed lamb sandwich makes a perfect choice for lunch; it's served on rustic bread with roasted peppers, eggplant, and a side of cucumber yogurt sauce.
The restaurant's zenlike pebble garden is an ideal spot to sip a cool drink on a summer afternoon, with happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Try the bar's signature Long Island City Iced Tea, a peach-flavored twist on the traditional favorite, or a tall glass of Alan's Hard Lemonade, made with fresh lemonade, absolute citron, fresh lime juice and sour mix.
- Lounge 47, 47-10 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, NY
Court Square Diner
The Court Square Diner has been around for 63 years, serving traditional diner fare at very affordable prices. Open 24/7 and located just steps from the Court Square #7 subway station, it's a great place to stop for a quick bite--the service is prompt and friendly. Their enormous triple-decker sandwiches are an excellent choice for lunch. The kitchen also makes an exceptional gyro sandwich with a side of flavorful tzatziki sauce.
- Court Square Diner, 45-30 23rd St, Long Island City, NY