You're Good to Go in LIC
Here is our brief guide to a variety of dining establishments in Long Island City offering menu items that travel well, plus most have seating too!
5-50 50th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay
This modern, Izakaya-style restaurant has a stylish interior with a menu of healthy bowls, meats and noodles. My favorite part is the outside walk-up window, where witty baristas make excellent cafe lattes and matcha. In surprising contrast to the Instagrammy avocado-ramen-poke entrees inside, the front window is filled with huge Dough donuts. If you stay outside when ordering a donut and coffee, you can avoid seeing all the healthy food you should probably be eating instead.
John Brown Smokehouse
10-43 44th Dr., Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay
Surprise! This Queens blogger was born in Kansas City. The smell of the namesake smoke inside John Brown Smokehouse conjures my favorite childhood food memories. Owner and Kansas City native Josh Bowen runs a solid BBQ joint. The decor nods to beloved KC sports teams, the Royals and the Chiefs. Boulevard Beer is on tap and there are rolls of paper towels on the tables to wipe up messy sauces (argue if you must, but real BBQ has sauce). I recommend the chunky, charred beef burnt ends and the innovative KC-meets- NYC pastrami. The meats and sides are great for carry out. This is real barbecue, best enjoyed on John Brown's patio after googling whether downtown Kansas City is in Kansas or Missouri.
51st Bakery and Cafe
5-33 51st Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay, breakfast and lunch (Check website for special “Supperclub” dinners)
Chef Faye Hess and her husband Jonathan Stirling have made this breakfast and lunch spot a friendly place for fresh, thoughtful food. Hess has cooked her way around France and Italy, so she makes salads and sandwiches with a rustic sensibility. Even a seemingly humble tuna sandwich on multi-grain bread makes a perfect midday meal. The baked goods are reminiscent of my grandmother’s kitchen. Nothing is fussy but everything is satisfying from the chocolate chip cookies to a rotating roster of cakes. The Devocion coffee is often served by Stirling with the kind of “Welcome, neighbor” smile only a passionate small business owner can deliver.
Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.
5-43 48th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go only
The original location of this fish market is in Greenpoint. Fortunately for LIC, the business has come across the Pulaski bridge with a second shop on 48th Ave. The company holds high ethical standards in sourcing domestic and wild caught seafood. The small but mighty LIC store sells fresh fish, shellfish and unusual catches (Rabbitfish anyone?). They also sell lemons and accompaniments. A freezer full of fish stocks, lobster pot pies and even fish sticks awaits pescatarians and healthy cooks on the go.
5-11 47th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay
There is a big Eiffel tower mural on the wall, but there’s nothing touristy about Cannelle. Owner and pastry chef Jean-Claude Perennou delivers excellent French bread and pastries to LIC. Cannelle's pretty cakes, croissants, Jambon-Beurre sandwiches (ham with butter on a baguette) and even the paper bags are 100 percent Français. Maybe the best gluten-full item for sale is the Country Bread made in a cast iron skillet, only available after 1 pm. If you struggle to stay off carbs, do not try this crusty, stretchy, magic bread. You'll be pressing your nose against the shop window at least once a week at 12:55 pm to pick up your fix.
5-51 47th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay
Those familiar with Tuk-Tuk restaurant on Vernon Boulevard know it’s a neighborhood go to for fresh, inexpensive Thai food. Their sister restaurant, Cyclo specializes in Vietnamese favorites including clay pot rice and Pho. My pick is the crunchy, traditional pork Banh Mi sandwich that can be ordered Spicy (add Jalapeño) or for the brave, Extra Spicy (add Jalapeño and Thai chili). The indulgent sandwich comes with a small bowl of soup at lunch and is equally delicious in winter or summer.
Foodcellar & co. / Organic Square (Hunters Point location)
4-85 47th Road, Long Island City, NY 11101
To Go or Stay, seating available
A neighbor once referred to Foodcellar & co. as “The Museum,” because of the store's fancy foods and luxury pricing. While prices can be Whole Foods-Pre- Amazon high, Foodcellar has fulfilled Hunters Point's desire for a colorful and interesting market. The grocery store has a large prepared food section, a salad bar and pizza counter, making it a good place to pick up picnic items before heading to the riverfront parks. I’m a fan of the juice bar in the store, Organic Square, for fresh fruit and veg juices and smoothie bowls.
5-48 49th Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101 T
o Go or Stay
Famous in Queens for earning a Michelin star, chef Cosme Aguilar’s celebrated Casa Enrique elevates authentic Mexican dishes. The flavorful food and modern decor are fun but it can be tough to get a reservation. Surprisingly, Casa Enrique takes carry out orders. My favorite way to get the guacamole, tacos or pozole is to place an order with the host then enjoy a seasonal margarita at Casa Enrique's cute little bar. What could be more New York-y than treating yourself to a tamarind margarita then walking home with an armful of Michelin-starred Mexican food?