Homecoming NYC’s Restaurant Crawls Brings Attention to Queens Restaurants, Helps Local Food Banks – NBC New York

What to Know

  • Homecoming NYC, a neighborhood group based mostly in Queens, seeks to present aid to native eating places and meals insecure residents via restaurant crawls. 
  • Bryan Lozano created the group in an effort to assist Queens residents who skilled monetary difficulties introduced on by COVID-19.
  • The group lately partnered with On Operating and Citi Bike to discover the Woodside, Sunnyside, and Astoria neighborhoods on bike. 

Bryan Lozano’s love for Queens started throughout his childhood when he lived in Elmhurst, taking part in cricket and mahjong with different youngsters from his neighborhood. As he grew older, Lozano would relocate to completely different neighborhoods in Queens, however all the time referred to as Elmhurst dwelling.  

When COVID-19 struck and Elmhurst turned a scorching spot within the nation, Lozano (no relation to this text’s author) knew it was time to return. After witnessing the neighborhood he grew up in burdened by monetary hardships introduced by the pandemic, Lozano felt compelled to floor his roots and provides again one of the best ways he knew how: via meals. 

Lozano based Homecoming NYC, a neighborhood group working to assist native eating places and food-insecure people via restaurant crawls. Members buy tickets to attend the crawls, and that cash is then donated to meals banks and eating places. 

“Homecoming at first was always an opportunity to give back to the neighborhood,” stated Lozano. “However once we thought of it, eating places have been actually struggling and meals hardship turned a extremely large problem within the neighborhood and we needed to do one thing that connects the 2 issues collectively.

“Homecoming ultimately became a love letter to the neighborhoods that we’re from and an opportunity to support restaurants that have been staples in neighborhoods but at the same time support organizations who are working to fight food insecurity.” 

In the course of the crawls, members of the Homecoming NYC group lead individuals round a neighborhood visiting distinguished eating places locally, just like the Arepa Woman, meet the homeowners and check out their meals. In accordance to Lozano, the group all the time features a 20% tip and opts for take-out, so the excursions don’t impede on the restaurant’s operations. 

“Homecoming has introduced Indonesian Food and Indo Java to the world,” stated Anastasia Dewi Tjahjadi, proprietor of Indo Java Groceries, an Indonesian grocery retailer that was one of many areas that Homecoming included of their Elmhurst meals crawl. 

For the reason that group’s founding in Might, Lozano and his workforce have led two meals crawls in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, which has raised $5,000 in extra income for eating places.

In October, the group partnered with On Operating, Moma PS1, and Citi Bike to conduct a motorcycle tour via numerous neighborhoods in Queens. Social media mogul and producer, Jaeki Cho, led the tour making stops at numerous areas to spotlight points impacting residents locally. 

Eating places throughout New York Metropolis have been negatively impacted due to the pandemic, which noticed many areas shut due to lack of presidency support or enterprise due to stay-at dwelling orders or authorities support.

Homecoming in the end turned a love letter to the neighborhoods that we’re from and a chance to assist eating places…[and] organizations who’re working to struggle meals insecurity.

Bryan Lozano, Founding father of Homecoming NYC

As for the meals, individuals visited Bolivian Llama Get together for salteñas, a baked Bolivian empanada crammed with stew, and Renee’s Kitchenette for conventional Filipino meals. 

“We saw what [Homecoming NYC] was doing and how they’re giving back to communities and we wanted to be a part of it,” stated Errrol Dizon, one of many proprietor’s at Renee’s Kitchenette. 

As well as to supporting eating places, Homecoming NYC works with neighborhood meals banks to deal with meals insecurity in Queens, one other distinguished problem that worsened through the pandemic. The group donates cash, raised from restaurant crawl tickets, to neighboring meals banks, like New Life, which obtained sufficient cash to present over 800 meals to these in want. 

“We appreciate their donation,” stated Jeff Kolsch, director of New Life. “They did a great thing in a unique way.”

Lozano and his workforce intend on launching a neighborhood fridge later this 12 months in Woodside, the place practically 10% of residents determine as meals insecure. 

Homecoming NYC is at present scheduling their subsequent restaurant crawl, however Lozano hopes that individuals will return to these communities. 

“These are really local neighborhoods that often people don’t get a chance to go to,” stated Lozano. “This is the first time a lot of people have come to Elmhurst, and that’s important for us because we want people to build a relationship and come back here.”

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