Queens dines out for World Trade fund-raiser

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Queens residents went out to dinner last Thursday to help raise money for the families of World Trade Center victims who worked in the food service industry.

Hungry New Yorkers sought out one of the several Queens restaurants that donated at least 10 percent of their evening’s sales to the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund.

The owner and executive chef of Windows on the World, the fabled restaurant that used to be at the top of the World Trade Center, established the relief fund along with two other restaurant owners and chefs.

Windows on the World was devastated by the terrorist attack, which killed 79 of its employees, but the relief fund will assist the families of all food service workers who died as a result of the disaster.

“This benefits everyone in the industry, from the people working in both the Towers to the guys that were selling hot dogs on the corner,” said David Dopos, a spokesman for Windows of Hope.

At least nine Queens restaurants joined in the worldwide fund-raiser last Thursday, which marked a month since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

Q A Thai Bistro in Forest Hills was mobbed with customers at 7 p.m. as many people came out because of the relief fund, said the restaurant’s manager, Vesna Denic-Gmerek.

Denic-Gmerek said a customer told her about the relief fund and she knew right away that her restaurant should participate.

Robert Grammatica came to the bistro with his wife Sara after he heard that Denic-Gmerek was taking part in the relief fund.

“I don’t ordinarily come here on Thursdays,” Robert Grammatica said, “but it’s a great thing that they are doing.”

Grammatica, a Forest Hills resident and regular customer at Q A Thai Bistro, said he was glad to see the food service industry was looking out for its own, just as the Fire Department has supported the families of firefighters lost Sept. 11.

“There are some people here tonight I haven’t seen in ages,” he said of the crowd.

Forest Hills residents Hazek Karsten and Chris Fergus joined the Grammaticas at the bar, where some people were eating dinner and others were having drinks while waiting for a table.

“We usually come here, but we particularly had to come tonight,” Karsten said.

Fergus agreed, saying “we come here when we feel like it, but tonight it was definitely for a good cause.”

Meanwhile, in Long Island City, Brooks 1890 Restaurant was half empty, but at least two customers turned out for the fund-raiser.

Joanne Moncalsa and her husband Rene had never been to the Long Island City restaurant before, but when they heard about the Windows of Hope fund, they searched for a participating restaurant on the web.

“We recently moved to Greenpoint and have been wanting to try the neighborhood restaurants,” Moncalsa said, “so we decided: Tonight is the night.”

The other Queens restaurants listed as participants on the Windows of Hope web site were: Armando’s Italian Restaurant in Jackson Heights; Cooking with Jazz in Whitestone; La Casa Del Pollo Pervano in Jackson Heights; Paramount Caviar in Long Island City; Ristorante Piccola Venezia in Astoria; Tequila Sunrise in Astoria; and Waters Edge Restaurant in Long Island City.

For more information on the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund call (212) 893-3710 or visit their web site at

Reach reporter Betsy Scheinbart by E-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 138.

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