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First Chipotle in Queens Draws Hungry Crowds to Austin Street

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 31, 2013 4:48pm

QUEENS — A long-awaited Chipotle restaurant has finally opened on Austin Street, drawing hundreds of customers since its opening earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, when the restaurant at 70-30 Austin St., opened for the first time, it served customers at a rate of about 120 people an hour, said general manager, Hank Zhang. “We had a line (stretching from the counter) to the doors from 11:30 in the morning till closing,” he said. The restaurant is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Local residents and workers said it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

“I was passing by almost every day to check when they are going to open,” said Alex Banks, 17, a Middle Village resident, who works in the area as an after-school program counselor. “It’s really good,” added Banks, who ordered a chicken burrito.

“We’ve been waiting for it for a long time,” said Janet Alva, 34, a Forest Hills resident who works for the aviation industry and came to Chipotle for lunch on early Tuesday afternoon.

There are also two gastropubs coming to the area.

Forest Hills Station House at 106-11 71st Ave. is slated to open before St. Patrick’s Day. One of the owners, Drew Dvorkin, said the venue would be a craft beer bar, offering “a new level of beer and food that Forest Hills hasn’t seen before.”

Dvorkin also said he is planning to serve a lot of local and regional craft beers as well as whiskeys and bourbons.

Another gastropub is under construction at 70-28 Austin St., where a Johnny Rockets restaurant was located. “It will be an Irish gastropub,” said the owner, Declan Morrison, who also owns Blackwater Inn on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills.

He said the new pub, called “The Flying Pig,” will focus on serving local products and craft beers. Morrison said he hopes to have it open around mid April.

Kung Fu Tea, a tea house, is also coming to 70-10 Austin St. A hand painted sign in the window says “Opening soon,” although no firm date has been set.