Sept. 17, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A new online guide listing Downtown Flushing’s best food and historical attractions is being launched to support restaurants that have been struggling due to the pandemic.
The guide, called “Flushing’s Finest,” is available for advance online purchase now with a release date of September 25 and will showcase the neighborhood’s top 20 destinations for food as well as some historically significant sites.
The publication is being released by Queens Together, a non-profit which was formed to help restaurants navigate the COVID-19 shutdown and to help people facing food insecurity.
The group is looking to raise funds from the guide which will go towards paying local restaurants to make meals for hungry residents. Organizers say the initiative aims to keep restaurants in business while at the same time combating food insecurity for people suffering economic hardship.
The guide, organizers say, will also attract extra visitors into the area which will spur the local economy.
Joe DiStefano, a Queens food guru and local tour guide who compiled the list, said the guide details Downtown Flushing’s best culinary hotspots that specialize in Asian cuisine.
“These are some of my very favorite places, from newer ones like Joe’s Steam Rice Roll and Maxi’s Noodle to storied establishments like Helen You’s Tianjin Dumpling House,” DiStefano said.
Also on the list is Shanghai You Garden, a soup dumpling favorite and Coop, which specializes in Korean-style chicken wings.
The list also includes some religious and culturally significant sites, according to Jonathan Forgash, the co-founder of Queens Together, who said the area is steeped in history.
“We want to promote the restaurants but also the neighborhood in which they reside and there are some real hidden treasures to explore, Forgash said.
For example, the guide includes the Ganesh Temple, which Forgash said is the first traditional Hindu temple to be built in America, and the Old Quaker Meeting House which is the oldest house of worship in New York City.
Listing the historical sites, Forgash said, will incentivize people to stay in the area for longer which will in turn bolster the local economy.
Queens Together said that Flushing’s Finest will also feature a photograph competition with the winner scooping a two-night stay for two at the Hyatt Place Hotel, located at One Fulton Square.
The person who posts the most photographs to Instagram of local restaurant food or culinary establishments will win the top prize, the group said.
Each photograph must be accompanied by the hashtag “PYMWYMIQ” to enter. The acronym stands for “put your money where your mouth is Queens,” and organizers say it is being used to encourage people to go out and spend their money in local restaurants.
The runner-up will secure a food tour for two of Downtown Flushing with DiStefano, while the third-placed finalist will net a signed copy of DiStefano’s best-selling guidebook, 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss.
Copies of Flushing’s Finest will cost $20 each and are available to purchase now on the Queens Together website.
The guide will then be released to customers at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept 25.
The release date coincides with National Dumpling Day which takes place the following day, Sept. 26.