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Boro’s best eateries on display during 2009 Restaurant Week

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Queens residents were lining up for a smorgasbord of savory foods in Kew Gardens Tuesday at the kickoff for the fourth annual Queens Restaurant Week, which has been extended this year to 10 days.

The owners and chefs of several dozen borough eateries scooped food onto the plates of hungry Queens residents at the Restaurant Week event, held Tuesday afternoon at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens and hosted by the Queens Economic Development Corp.

Borough President Helen Marshall said the program’s popularity allowed for it to run longer this year.

“Maybe in the future we’ll be celebrating Queens Restaurant Month,” she said. “I always say, ‘Visit Queens and see the world.’ No matter where your hometown is, you can find your hometown’s cooking in Queens.”

Queens Restaurant Week is featuring 75 borough eateries that will have $25 prix-fixe menus Monday through Thursday from Oct. 5 to Oct. 15.

The food selections at Tuesday’s event included Spanish, Colombian, Italian, seafood and American cuisine, while participating restaurants hailed from a number of Queens neighborhoods, such as Astoria, Bayside, Douglaston, Queens Village, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Jackson Heights and Howard Beach.

Restaurant owners said borough eateries were offering foods from every corner of the world.

“This is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Queens, which is why my business continues to thrive,” said Chris Dreams, of Kew Gardens’ Cocina Latina Bar & Grill. “I grew up very close to this neighborhood, so I want to give back.”

Robert Cascarino, owner of Bayside’s Cascarino’s pizzeria on Bell Boulevard, said this year was his first to take part in Restaurant Week. His table was adorned with a large banner which said his restaurant had the official pizza of the Mets.

“It’s a good way for people to try all our foods,” he said of the event.

Cascarino served grandma pizza, Veal Romano and Chicken Stiano.

Among the restaurants taking part in Queens Restaurant Weekare Bayside’s Papazzio, Rego Park’s London Lennies, Howard Beach’s Russo’s on the Bay, Jamaica’s O Lavrador, Long Island City’s Riverview Restaurant, Howard Beach’s Saffron, Forest Hills’ Villa Isabella and Kew Gardens’ Austin’s Steak & Ale House.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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