Those who either are from New York or are familiar with New York — Astoria, Queens is known as the Greek part of New York. Greek restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, you can find it all in Astoria.
I am Greek myself and often go to Greece to visit my family. While I have tried a lot of great Greek food in Astoria, I would say Brothers Taverna is one of my favorite restaurants. I recently caught up with one of the owners, Zhuljeta Buja, who spoke to me about the development of this Astoria Gem.
Q: Where did inspiration for Brothers Taverna come from?
Zhuljeta: The inspiration comes from our family. We grew up very poor but then the Communist Party fell down as a regime and finally we could have our own little farms, and our father and mother were always cooking. My brothers took after them and two of my brothers became chefs. They later immigrated to Greece and actually had a restaurant in Athens. However, ever since they came to the states, about 17 years ago, it was their dream to open one here. My brothers love to cook and it bring them so much joy to share their joy with their guests. It brings back so many happy memories from back home. When you came to our house as a guest my family always made sure you were fed, as soon as you walked in food would be served to you.”
Q: How do you keep the ingredients so fresh?
Zhuljeta: “The secret of keeping everything so fresh is by buying daily the meats from the butcher and doing the preparation every day.”
Q: New York City is filled with beautiful neighborhoods each very different from one another. Why did you choose Astoria Queens to be the home for Brothers Taverna?
Zhuljeta: “The reason why we choose Astoria, it is because my brothers and I have been living in Astoria ever since we came to US and it feels home to us. We love the community that is so diverse and beautiful.”
Q: What dish would you say is a local favorite for those in Astoria who come eat at Brothers Taverna?
Zhuljeta: “What is the favorite dish for costumes? That’s a hard question to answer because there are a few. Kokoretsi, Kondosouvli, Bifteki, and GRILLED CHICKEN. But the GYROS have the 5 Stars because their comment is, ” OMG, this tastes like the Gyros back HOME!”
Q: Brothers Taverna opened recently in November 2016. As you start on this new journey, what are your hopes and your vision for Brothers Taverna?
Zhuljeta: “We Thank God every day for having us so blessed because Brothers Taverna has been doing so well in such a short amount of time. I think time will tell us what’s ahead of us for the future. We hope and believe for the best and who knows maybe more of the Brothers…haha!”
If you have not had the chance to stop by Brother Taverna yet I strongly encourage you to make that trip!