August 30, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A community-led group will highlight the region’s culinary diversity in mid-September with a guided take-out restaurant tour – with a portion of the proceeds going to a local pantry.
Attendees will sample the culinary offerings of the Jackson Heights neighborhood on a tour that spans less than a mile.
The restaurant crawl, the second offered by Back home – a newly formed organization of first and second generation immigrants who are passionate about food and bringing the community together – will take place on Sunday, September 19, with hour-long tours offered from noon to 5 p.m.
Dishes on offer include Indian, Burmese, Pakistani, Bengali and Colombian cuisine, with a vegetarian crawl offered for the first time.
Bryan Lozano, one of the founders of Homecoming, says the restaurant choices were inspired by community feedback as well as Queens food writer Joe DiStefano.
Lozano points out that Jackson Heights is home to a significant number of restaurant workers, and partnering with local restaurants is one way to show their support for these workers.
âWhile these restaurants are just one part of the incredible array of dining options in Jackson Heights, we believe they embody the community spirit and the cuisines this neighborhood has to offer,â said Lozano.
The tour starts at Nepalese restaurant Himalayan Yak with Momos beef or vegetables.
It will then be followed by a stop at the Burmese Yun Cafe & Asian Mart for Mohinga, a rice noodle and fish soup, or the option of tea leaf soup.
Next stop will be Al Naimat Sweets & Restaurant for an assortment of Pakistani sweets, followed by a stop at Tong food truck to try popular Bangladeshi street food fuchka.
The crawl will then end at the Arepa Lady, where participants can taste the Colombian cornmeal cakes that gave the establishment their name.
The venue for the tour remains to be determined, but Lozano expects it to be near the Himalayan Yak.
Homecoming held their first restaurant tour on June 5 in Elmhurst, the neighborhood where Lozano grew up after immigrating from the Philippines at age 3.
A total of 145 people attended this event. Tickets cost $ 60, with $ 15 of the proceeds going to the New Life Pantry.
Tickets for the next Jackson Heights crawl costs $ 65, of which $ 16 goes to the Community Centers Services Organization Corp., a Jackson Heights-based organization that distributes groceries every Monday in Travers Park.
Each hourly visit is capped at 25 people, and the only remaining slots are between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The afternoon will be crowned with a free public classical music concert presented by Music for Food, an organization where musicians donate their time to raise funds for pantries. The concert will likely take place in or near the open streets of 34th Avenue.