Astor Bake Shop
12-23 Astoria Blvd, Astoria

While we love our home and neighborhood of Astoria, one downside of our location is that we have to walk at least 0.5-1 mile for any decent food options. There are pizza places and take-out Chinese, but nothing real exciting, no default places to chill. Well that all changed in July 2010 as Astor Bake Shop opened its doors. It seemed too good to be true, a quality bakeshop and cafe, owned and run by a high-end chef, and in stumbling distance from our apt??? No way!!! Yup, it all happened last summer and Spud and I are in heaven with this place. It has an old world type vibe with lots of brick and big windows. The staff is really nice, but is also cool if you want to sit for hours with a coffee and baked good. This is chef-owner George McKirdy’s baby and he runs it well. He has had a huge career, involved in many iconic Manhattan restaurants, and much to our delight, has settled in Astoria.

So the food… We have tried many baked goods: cakes, tarts, pies, cupcakes, etc, and they are all excellent. There are many great ethnic bakeries in the area, but here you will get the classics, as well as a few innovative ideas. And they look as good as they taste. There is a full menu as well. We are definitely addicted to the slow baked chicken sandwich ($7.25): Mediterranean spices, caramelized onions, avocado Swiss cheese on Portuguese or wheat roll and the lentil burger ($7.95), served with horseradish sauce, mixed greens, pickled onions, tomato on a challah roll. They serve great breakfast egg sandwiches and pancakes for brunch. They also have bistro classics like French onion soup and Croque Madame.

I could list the praises of Astor for several more paragraphs, but believe me, it’s good. Just come on over and check it out. Not only is it a great cafe, but it is quickly becoming a neighborhood institution and is elevating our little neck of the woods. Thanks George!