Oct. 17, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A new Chinese restaurant that specializes in hot pots has opened in Long Island City.
Da Long Yi, a global franchise that is known for its signature Chinese hot pots, opened Oct. 9 on the ground floor of 42-22 Crescent St. – a new 9-story mixed-use building near Queens Plaza South.
Chinese hot pots traditionally involve a boiling hot broth made with fresh herbs and spices with the option to mix raw meat and vegetables inside a large metal pot.
The company was established around nine years ago in Chengdu, the capital city of China’s Szechuan province, and has undergone massive growth with more than 400 restaurants worldwide. The vast majority of Da Long Yi restaurants are in China with other locations in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Canada and Singapore.
The Long Island City location marks the company’s first in Queens and second in New York City following on from its Chinatown outpost in Manhattan.
Da Long Yi’s Long Island City restaurant occupies a 4,000 square foot space, with space on the ground floor and in the basement. Both floors are being used by the restaurant to serve food with the basement area dedicated for private dining events.
The new restaurant is being operated by James Chen, 27, who is originally from Beijing. He opened Da Long Yi’s Manhattan restaurant in 2019.
Chen moved to New York more than 12 years ago and has lived in Long Island City for the last 3 1/2 years.
Chen said he initially expected to open the restaurant in August, but his plans were delayed as he was waiting on paperwork from the city to be finalized. Delays in getting the equipment needed to open the restaurant also disrupted his plans, Chen said.
However, he said he is happy that the restaurant is now open for business.
“We are very excited to finally be open,” Chen said. “We have been so busy that waiting times have been around two hours long on average.”
Chen said hot pots are extremely popular with Asians and that there is a high demand for the broth in Long Island City, given its large Asian population.
Chen said the restaurant offers a range of hot pots such as the benz tallow pot, the double-flavored tallow bullfrog and the traditional beef tallow spicy broth.
The restaurant also serves spicy pork ribs and spicy beef sirloin dishes as well as pork kidneys. Chen said that customers can customize how much spice they want in their hot pots and other dishes.
There is also a wide array of seafood options that are served raw, such as scallops, squid, fish fillet, crab sticks as well as fish tofu, Chen said.
The restaurant also offers cocktails, beers and wines, he said.
The establishment has a modern look with seating for around 90 people on the ground floor. The basement area has room for around 30 customers and is reserved for private events.
Chen told the Queens Post in March he decided to convert the basement area into a private function space given his previous experiences dining in Long Island City.
“A lot of my friends go out in groups and we find there are not enough restaurants with private dining areas in Long Island City so it’s hard for us to stay together,” Chen said.
“So, I thought it would be a good idea to open one in my restaurant.”
Opening hours are currently from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Mondays through Sundays until the establishment moves out of its soft opening phase.
Do you know of a new establishment opening in Queens? Let us know by emailing [email protected] with the details.