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Front Toward Enemy replaces Canz-a-Citi as latest addition to Astoria’s ‘Restaurant Row’

New Astoria restaurant replaces a sports bar known as Canz-a-Citi Roadhouse. Photo courtesy Scott James Teague
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There is a new addition to Astoria’s ever-growing restaurant row on 30th Avenue and one of the owners believes they will stand out from the others.

“We’re not just a restaurant,” Scott James Teague said. “We wanted to create the type of restaurant you’ve never been to before.”

Front Toward Enemy had its grand opening last Thursday night, at 40-11 30th Ave., replacing Canz-a-citi Roadhouse, a restaurant that closed in November after a five-year run.

“It was a sports bar that ran its course,” Teague said.

The two owners of Canz-a-citi Roadhouse, Matt Dill and Tim Lorito, decided to make a massive overhaul with dark reclaimed wood and iron works. And they brought in Teague as a partner.

“We wanted to create the kind of place there might have been had Prohibition never been,” Teague said. “Some of the old Canz-a-citi Roadhouse regulars came to the opening and were awestruck at the changes we made.”

Teague was a bartender at Dutch Kills, a popular cocktail lounge in Long Island City that pays homage to the old speakeasy. He serves classic cocktails cooled with Hundredweight ice cubes, part of his “ice program.” Hundredweight is a company that supplies high-end New York City cocktail lounges with pure ice that is slow to melt and slow to dilute the booze.

“This is not just a cocktail lounge, though,” Teague said. “Beer drinkers get a choice of 21 types from craft beers to Miller High Life and PBR.”

The restaurant features a New American menu that includes braised lamb shoulder, Sauvignon Blanc steamed mussels, New York beer battered cod and chips, steaks and burgers. Appetizers include oysters, grilled octopus and charcuterie boards with serrano ham, duck rillettes and chorizo.

“We’re not just a restaurant and cocktail lounge, we have live entertainment including gypsy-jazz and folk and bluegrass,” Teague said.

The owners of Front Toward Enemy paid attention to details from the specialty ice to the old-fashioned soda siphons they installed instead of modern

“Everything’s made with love and care so the customers know that we want them to be here,” Teague said.

As for the name Front Towards Enemy? That comes from the instruction found on the front of claymore mines.

“I come from a family of hunters and have been around the weapons culture my entire life,” Teague said. “We wanted the name to be a little dark and add some mystery to the whole experience.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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