Well-liked neighborhood restaurant Queens Comfort is set to close its doors this weekend after more than nine years on 30th Avenue. Owner Donald D’Alessio announced the restaurant’s closure in a post to Instagram earlier this week, citing the financial strain of operating a business with limited outdoor seating. The neighborhood restaurant’s last day of service will be Sunday, October 11.
Like countless other establishments across the city, D’Alessio pointed to the improbability of keeping a business afloat on takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining sales alone. “Operating during the pandemic is too difficult for a brunch spot with 14 seats on the sidewalk heading into the slowest season of the year, winter,” the owner shared in a GoFundMe campaign for the restaurant. Faced with rent and the winter months, the restaurant “had no choice but to close,” according to the post.
Following the announcement on Instagram, Queens Comfort received an outpouring of support in the form of takeout orders, GoFundMe donations, and social media comments, including one from Queens congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Takeout and delivery orders from the restaurant have been so high this week that D’Alessio has had to close its doors intermittently just to keep up: first to give its staff a break, then to catch-up on Grubhub orders, and most recently to prepare for its final weekend of service.
A GoFundMe fundraiser started by D’Alessio earlier this week has already amassed more than $6,000 in donations at the time of writing, with funds to go towards paying staff and settling small debts with local vendors.
D’Alessio says he plans to reopen the restaurant in Astoria, just as soon as shoulder-to-shoulder Sunday brunch can take place again. “We can only take things day by day right now,” he wrote in the post.
Queens Comfort first opened its doors in 2011, three blocks away from its current home at 36-18 30th Avenue, near 37th Street. True its name, the beloved neighborhood restaurant serves an inventive array of brunch classics and comfort foods, including a hangover-busting plate of Eggs Benedict made with fig jam and brie. The restaurant faced closure once before, in January 2018 when it announced it would be leaving its longtime home at 40-09 30th Avenue. Three days after the announcement, however, the restaurant confirmed its plans to reopen at its current location in an over-the-top Youtube video set to David Bowie’s “Changes,” and featuring talking Cap’n Crunch and Darth Vader action figures.
One can only hope for a similar outcome this time around.