New Restaurant: Il Nonno Ristorante

The warmth of Fernando Pliego and Grissel Garcia, the father/daughter duo that opened Il Nonno Ristorante (25-17 Astoria Blvd), emanates through the vibe and food of this newly-opened (in May) spot.

The cozy Italian restaurant welcomed us with delicious thinly sliced garlic bread and the classic olive oil and vinegar duo. We were a hungry bunch, so we ordered two appetizers to share: Zuppa di Caroffi and Caprese di Bufala. Zuppa could have been eaten as a soup, but artichoke puree and shredded goat cheese sounded like it could have been a dip to share, so we ate it like that. The caprese sat on thinly sliced slightly-seasoned tomatoes. It was very refreshing on a warm June evening.

Our table looked out on a large open window and the bambino in our party enjoyed staring out of it, waving to passersby as she happily munched on some French fries.

The adults each ordered different main dishes from Penne Arrabbiata con Salmone (nice kick, not too spicy) to Pollo alla Martini, a chicken breast breaded with a white wine lemon sauce and mashed potatoes, to Pasta alla Sicilian, to the lightest fluffy Gnocchi this side of Queens! One of us balanced out the carbs with an Insalate Mista (a simple salad is one of her favorite palate cleansers, and the dressing was delightful).

Everything was great, but save room for dessert. With the exception of the gelato, all the desserts were homemade. We fell in love with the tiramisu! While we were all chocolate lovers, there’s something special about the tiramisu here. Perhaps it’s all the love and care that Grissel and Fernando put into creating a beautiful new restaurant in our neighborhood.

P.S. While this is written in the “we” voice, the person that penned this is a single straight woman in her early 40s who is eager to return on a date for tiramisu and wine. It’s a super cute date spot! But also great for family meals or a night out with friends. If that sounds like a fun date, slide into her DMs.

Text and photos by Emily (IG: @anecdotally.em)

Impactful Ways to Make a Difference in Your Community

Photo via Pexels

When the world around you calls for action, stepping forward to make a difference in your community can seem daunting, yet it is profoundly impactful. Whether it’s rallying support through petitions, using digital platforms to spread awareness, or joining hands in local initiatives, every action counts. In this article, courtesy of BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC, we’ll go over some ways you can engage deeply with your causes and drive meaningful change.

Pursue Educational Influence

Entering a career in education by earning an Ed D is an excellent way to make a lasting impact in your community. This advanced degree equips you to influence curriculum development, policy, and to evaluate and enhance instructional methods for better learning outcomes. The flexibility of studying online at your own pace allows you to balance professional and personal commitments effectively. Pursuing this path can be a pivotal step toward implementing significant educational reforms while managing your daily responsibilities.

Harness the Power of Petitions

Initiating a petition is a strategic method to gather collective support and appeal for change. This approach not only brings together individuals who share your passion but also presents a unified front to policymakers. Draft a clear, compelling argument for why the change is necessary, and use both online platforms and physical venues to gather signatures. This not only amplifies your cause but also puts pressure on those in power to take notice and act.

Amplify Through Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool in the modern activist’s arsenal. Use these platforms to educate, engage, and expand your audience. Share videos, infographics, and thought-provoking posts to highlight the nuances of the issue. Engage actively with your followers, encourage them to share your content, and create hashtags to track the conversation’s reach and impact. This approach can create a ripple effect, bringing more attention and support to your cause.

Engage in Local Governance

Attending local government meetings is a direct way to influence change. These forums are where decisions about your community are made, and voicing your concerns here can shift perspectives. Prepare your statements or questions in advance, be respectful but assertive, and focus on how proposed changes can benefit the community. Such civic engagement ensures that leaders cannot ignore the voices of their constituents.

Show Strength in Solidarity

Participating in public demonstrations and marches can be a powerful display of solidarity. These events highlight the strength of collective voices and bring public attention to critical issues. Whether it’s a march for climate action or a rally for social justice, public demonstrations show commitment and can sway public opinion and policy alike.

Lead Community Service Projects

Implementing service projects that directly benefit your cause is both fulfilling and effective. Organize community clean-ups, set up free educational workshops, or distribute necessities to those in need. These activities not only address immediate community needs but also build a network of engaged and concerned citizens, fostering a deeper sense of community and shared responsibility.

Support and Sustain Local Enterprises

Supporting local businesses that practice social responsibility and environmental stewardship reinforces community bonds and promotes sustainable economic growth. Choose to spend where your values are respected and where your community benefits. This not only helps sustain local enterprises but also encourages others to adopt ethical practices.

Cultivate Inclusive Dialogues

Creating spaces for dialogue and collaboration is essential for comprehensive community change. Set up a site that offers a forum to facilitate discussions that allow diverse groups to voice their perspectives, share their experiences, and find common ground. These conversations can lead to innovative solutions and stronger, more inclusive community ties, laying the groundwork for sustained collective action.

Your journey of community engagement and activism is paved with numerous opportunities to make a difference. By stepping up, speaking out, and taking action, you not only champion the causes you believe in but also inspire others to join your efforts. Transform your passion into action, and witness how even small steps can lead to significant strides in shaping a better community for all.

—Amy Collett

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC offers the latest news and happenings in the area for both residents and visitors. Take a look around the site today to learn more!

Boosting Community Health Through Small Businesses

Small businesses play a crucial role in shaping the health and wellness of local communities. From fostering partnerships with health initiatives to promoting environmental sustainability, these enterprises have the power to make a significant impact. Explore how small businesses can contribute to enhancing community well-being in multifaceted ways. This BOAST article will explore how these enterprises can support and improve the communities’ well-being.

Image via Freepik

Strengthening Community Connections

Building solid ties between small businesses and local health initiatives enhances community cohesion. Collaborative efforts foster a supportive environment for promoting wellness initiatives. These partnerships can lead to developing programs that directly address local health concerns. Strengthening community bonds in this way contributes to residents’ overall health and well-being.

Fueling Economic Growth

Small businesses fuel community health services through vital tax revenue, ensuring local economic circulation and growth. This financial injection supports economic stability, laying the groundwork for addressing health disparities and wellness program rollouts. A robust local economy, therefore, plays a crucial role in elevating the quality and reach of health services. This cyclical investment pattern enhances both the economy and the accessibility of health initiatives, benefiting the entire community.

Innovation and Creativity

Innovation and creativity are the backbone for fostering a positive community impact, particularly in the health and wellness sectors. In establishing a unique brand identity that resonates with the community, it helps to use a text logo that’s both memorable and distinctive. Some online tools provide an array of professional templates that you can modify with your desired colors and fonts.

This approach draws attention and enhances the business’s visibility, making it easier for community members to engage with and support their initiatives. Consequently, nurturing this entrepreneurial spirit can lead to innovative solutions that benefit community health and wellness.

Nurturing Nutritional Health

Local food markets and businesses provide fresh, nutritious options supporting community health and environmental sustainability. These enterprises promote healthier dietary choices among community members by offering access to locally sourced produce. This not only supports individual health but also contributes to the sustainability of local agriculture. Moreover, adopting sustainable food practices helps reduce the environmental impact of food production and consumption.

Enhancing Accessibility to Health Services

Small businesses are often instrumental in making health services and products more accessible to underserved populations. Their proximity to community members means essential health resources are more readily available. These businesses can help bridge healthcare gaps and address disparities by tailoring their services to meet local needs. This approach ensures that all community members have the opportunity to achieve better health outcomes.

Promoting Green Spaces

Small businesses bolster environmental health and motivate community physical activity by embedding green spaces into their operations. Leading with eco-friendly practices, they champion the development of green spaces, serving as hubs for exercise and relaxation, thereby uplifting community environmental quality. These efforts showcase a dedication to sustainability, highlighting the dual benefits for Earth and its inhabitants. This strategy illustrates a profound commitment to fostering a greener, healthier community.

Supporting Mental Health Initiatives

Small businesses have a unique opportunity to support community mental health initiatives. By providing resources, safe spaces, and support for mental well-being, they can play a crucial role in addressing this critical aspect of health. Partnerships with mental health professionals and organizations can enhance the support network available to residents. This collective effort can lead to a more supportive and understanding community environment.

Cultivating a Culture of Wellness

Small businesses can drive a community wellness culture by focusing on employee health, thus inspiring other organizations. Their commitment to well-being through wellness programs and policies sets a powerful example. Such initiatives encourage a wider adoption of health-focused practices, fostering a community-wide shift toward better wellness. This united approach significantly enhances the community’s overall health landscape.

Through various initiatives and partnerships, small businesses are integral to improving community health and wellness. By nurturing economic growth, promoting accessibility to health services, and fostering environmental sustainability, these enterprises play a vital role in creating healthier, more resilient communities. Embracing the collective power of small businesses can lead to lasting positive impacts on community well-being.

Would you like to read more helpful content or learn about the best Astoria and LIC have to offer? Visit today!

—Amy Collett

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Winners Posted!

The BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Winners have been posted! They are now up on the EAT, DRINK, DO & SEE, and LOCATION pages. Congratulations to all the winners! Because there were much fewer responses for LIC on this year’s survey, those winners are listed alphabetically, while Astoria’s winners are ranked first to third. Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, and for doing write-ups on the survey. You may see your writing on the site! Also, be sure to check out the new photos on top of the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages.

On the LOCATION page, if you click on a winner on the map, the description says the section (EAT, DRINK, or DO & SEE) and category it is a winner for. And on the HAPPENING page, you can see what’s going on in the neighborhoods. Let us know if you’d like to post events yourself!

On the homepage of the site, you can see recent posts of the full list of all the winners, as well as winners by the numbers (spoiler alert: The EAT section had the most categories, 30th Ave had the most winners of any area, and Maggie Hall’s, Heart of Gold, Burger Village, and Compton’s were winners in the most categories, so extra high fives to those places).

Winner stickers

Do you know a business that is a BOAST 2023 Winner? We are selling winner stickers! Just drop us a line at [email protected], or through any social channel, to get more info.

Advertising with BOAST

If businesses are interested in advertising as a Featured BOAST Location on the website, or partnering with us through social media, they can get in touch with us by email, [email protected] or through social.

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 – By the Numbers

Categories per section
25 – EAT
18 – DO & SEE
15 – DRINK

Winners by location (subway stop in parentheses)
41 – 30th Ave (N/W)
32 – Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W)
32 – Vernon-Jackson Ave (7)
27 – Broadway (N/W)
14 – Court Square (E/G/M/7)
12 – 31st Ave
11 – Astoria Blvd (N/W)
11 – Queensboro Plaza (N/W/7)
9 – Steinway St (M/R)
4 – 36th Ave (N/W)

Winners in multiple categories
10 – Maggie Hall’s: (6–1st; 2–2nd; 1–3rd; 1–write-in)
10 – Heart of Gold: (3–1st; 4–2nd; 3–3rd)
5 – Burger Village: (3–1st; 2–2nd)
4 – Compton’s Astoria: (1–1st; 3–2nd)
3 – Martha’s Country Bakery: (3–1st)
3 – Tootles & French: (2–1st; 1–2nd)
3 – Sweet Afton: (1–1st; 2–2nd)
3 – The Bonnie: (1–1st; 2–3rd)
3 – Judy & Punch: (2–2nd; 1–3rd)
3 – Jujube Tree: (1–1st; 1–2nd; 1–write-in)
2 – Astoria Food Pantry: (2–1st)
2 – Astoria Park: (2–1st)
2 – Museum of the Moving Image: (2–1st)
2 – Rivercrest: (2–1st)
2 – Sal, Kris & Charlie’s: (1–1st; 1–2nd)
2 – Madam Marie’s: (1–2nd; 1–3rd)
2 – Q.E.D.: (2–1st)
2 – Murphy’s Sports Bar: (1–1st; 1–2nd)
2 – VITE Vinosteria: (1–1st; 1–2nd)
2 – Comfortland: (1–1st; 1–3rd)
2 – Chez Olivia: (1–2nd, 1–write-in)
2 – Mosaic: (2–3rd)
2 – Pig Beach BBQ: (2–3rd)
2 – The Last Word: (2–3rd)
2 – Bar Dalia: 1–3rd; 1–write-in

6 – Compton’s LIC
4 – Culture Lab LIC
3 – Dominie’s Hoek
3 – Dutch Kills
3 – Hunter’s Point South Park
3 – Jackson’s Eatery | Bar
3 – LIC Bar
3 – Woodbines
2 – 929
2 – American Brass
2 – Café Henri
2 – Centro Pizza Bar & Italian Kitchen
2 – Court Square Diner
2 – Focal Point Beer Co.
2 – LM Cafe
2 – SHI
2 – Sweetleaf Coffee Roasters
2 – Xi’an Famous Foods

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Winners (full list)

Here is the full list of the BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 winners! Since there were so many more survey responses for Astoria than LIC, in each category the Astoria winners are placed first to third, and the LIC winners are listed alphabetically.

Best American Restaurant
1. Sweet Afton
2. Burger Village
2. Sanfords
3. The Bonnie
American Brass
Jackson’s Eatery | Bar

Best Bagels
1. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
2. Between the Bagel NY
3. New York City Bagel & Coffee House
Bricktown Bagels & Cafe
We Bagel

Best Bakery
1. Martha’s Country Bakery
2. Parisi Bakery
3. Yaya’s Bakery
Black Star Bakery & Cafe
Multisweet LIC

Best Brunch
1. Rivercrest
2. Sweet Afton
3. The Bonnie
3. The Trestle
Café Henri
Jackson’s Eatery | Bar
Woodbines (more…)

The BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Survey is LIVE!

The BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Survey is LIVE! The link is and it will be open until Sunday, Dec. 17. There are three pages (EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE) and 60 categories total. As usual, the categories are all write-in. We want to hear from you, so please think about your favorite spots in Astoria and LIC and submit the survey soon. (We always appreciate short write-ups, and there is a space for that in each category.) This year we have added Best Place to Eat (overall), Best Place to Drink (overall), and Best Thing to Do or See (overall). Be sure to enter your name and email at the end of the survey for a chance to win a prize!

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2023 Spring Party

Come to Rivercrest in Astoria on Sunday, May 7, at 3pm, where we’ll celebrate the current BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC winners! You can register here. We’ll provide some snacks, there will be a cash bar, and we’ll have a raffle for great prizes from local businesses. Early bird pricing by Sunday, April 23 is $15 (plus fee), and includes one raffle ticket. (You can buy more raffle tickets, but there is a maximum of one prize per person.) After April 23, the price goes up to $20 (plus fee). Please RSVP as early as possible.

Our last in-person party was in February 2020, also at Rivercrest, and we are thrilled to be going back there. In 2022 Rivercrest was a BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC winner for Best Brunch, Best American Restaurant, and Best Bar for Sports

Register at If you have any questions or comments, you can email us at [email protected]. We hope to see you there!

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2022 Winners Announced!

The BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2022 Winners have been announced! They are posted on the EAT, DRINK, DO & SEE, and LOCATION pages. Congratulations to all the winners. There were much fewer responses for LIC on this year’s survey, so those winners were listed alphabetically (no first, second, or third place designations for LIC). Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, and for doing write-ups on the survey. You may see your writing on the site! Also a big thank you to businesses who contributed prizes: Heart of Gold, Rivercrest, Tea and Milk, The Brass Owl, The Shillelagh Tavern, and The Wolfhound.

New this year! On the LOCATION page, if you click on a winner on the map, the description says what that place is a winner for in which section (EAT, DRINK, DO & SEE) and category.

On the homepage of the site, you can see recent posts of the full list of all the winners, as well as winners by the numbers (spoiler alert: 30th Ave had the most winners of any area, Sweet Afton was a winner in all three sections, and Maggie Hall’s and Heart of Gold were winners in many categories, so extra kudos to those places).

Winner Stickers

Do you know a business that is a BOAST 2022 Winner? We are selling winner stickers! Just drop us a line at [email protected], or through any social channel, to get more info.

Featured BOAST Location: Katch Astoria

We want to highlight Katch Astoria, which is a Featured BOAST Business on the sidebar of the DRINK page. If businesses are interested in advertising as a Featured BOAST Location, they can get in touch with us by email, [email protected], or through social.

Happening page

Check out our new and improved HAPPENING page. If you want your event listed, drop us a line at [email protected] or through social.

BOAST: Best of Astoria & LIC 2022 Winners – By the Numbers

Winners by Section
24 Categories
112 Winners

14 Categories
73 Winners

18 Categories
74 Winners

Winners by Location
46: 30th Ave (N/W)
27: Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W)
26: Broadway (N/W)
26: Vernon Blvd – Jackson Ave (7)
17: 31st Ave
17: Steinway St (M/R)
16: Astoria Blvd (N/W)
14: Court Square (E/G/M/7)
7: Queensboro Plaza (N/W/7)
1: 36th Ave (N/W)

Winners with Multiple Locations
4: Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
3: Bareburger
3: CTown Supermarkets
3: Kinship Coffee
3: New York City Bagel & Coffee House
2: Ample Hills Creamery
2: Black Star Bakery & Cafe
2: Chip City
2: Compton’s
2: Create
2: King Souvlaki
2: Petey’s Burger
2: SVL Souvlaki Bar
2: Sweetleaf Coffee Roasters

Winner in All Three Sections, EAT, DRINK and DO & SEE
Sweet Afton

Winners in Multiple Categories
12: Maggie Hall’s – 1st (10), 2nd (1), write-in (1)
9: Heart of Gold – 1st (1), 2nd (6), 3rd (2)
4: Q.E.D. – 1st (2), 3rd (1), write-in (1)
4: Sweet Afton – 1st (1), 2nd (1), 3rd (2)
4: The Shillelagh Tavern – 2nd (1), 3rd (2), write-in (1)
3: Rivercrest – 1st (2), 3rd (1)
3: Martha’s Country Bakery – 1st (1), 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
3: Mighty Oak Roasters – 1st (1), 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
3: Judy & Punch – 1st (1), 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
2: Astoria Park – 1st (2)
2: Museum of the Movie Image – 1st (1), 2nd (1)
2: The Bonnie – 1st (1), 2nd (1)
2: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden – 1st (1), 3rd (1)
2: Coffee Cloud – 1st (1), 3rd (1)
2: Jujube Tree – 1st (1), 3rd (1)
2: Vite Vinosteria – 1st (1), 3rd (1)
2: Comfortland – 2nd (2)
2: DiWine – 2nd (2)
2: Queen’s Room – 2nd (2)
2: Diamond Dogs – 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
2: Il Bambino – 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
2: Kinship Coffee – 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
2: Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli – 2nd (1), 3rd (1)
2: The Wolfhound – 2nd (1), 3rd (1)

LIC (with no 1st, 2nd, 3rd place)
5: Fifth Hammer Brewing Company
4: Culture Lab LIC
3: Black Star Bakery & Cafe
3: Levante
3: LIC Bar
2: Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill
2: Court Square Diner
2: Dutch Kills
2: Gamehaus New York 
2: ICONYC Brewing
2: Socrates Sculpture Park
2: Top Quality