July 10, 2013 By Bill Parry
Well over 200 people are expected to descend on Sunnyside Gardens Park on Thursday evening for “Summerbeat,” a culinary celebration of roasted meat and locally produced beer.
The event is being presented by Edible Queens, a popular foodie magazine published by a local resident. For $40 per ticket, attendees will be offered open-fire roasted meats prepared by five of the best chefs in Queens. They will also be served with craft beer produced by local breweries. The event goes from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is an all-you-can-eat, all-you-can drink affair.
Jay Soysal, a resident of 42nd St. and Skillman Ave., took over as the publisher of Edible Queens in March after several years as its creative director. “Summerbeat” coincides with the release of his first edition entitled: This Summer Eat Meat, Drink Beer.
“In a way it’s a relaunch party for the magazine,” Soysal said. Furthermore, “I want Sunnysiders to see what’s going on in the rest of the borough, and I want the restaurants to see what’s going on here in Sunnyside.”
Tyson Ho, a well known pit master from Flushing, is preparing a 200 pound Yorkshire hog for the event, where he will use traditional North Carolina smoking techniques.
Ho, who operates the The Arrogant Swine doesn’t actually have a restaurant; however, he is known for taking his skills on the road—such as his “Hog Days of Summer” tours between Long Island City and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Ho aims to impress Sunnysiders because he might open his first restaurant in this neighborhood.
“I’ve been looking in Sunnyside,” Ho said. “This is a great neighborhood.”
Meanwhile, Peter Giannakas, the chef at Ovelia Psistaria in Astoria, is also looking for positive feedback. Giannakos will serve up a 25-pound rotisserie lamb roasted on an open flame.
The owner of LIC Market, Alex Schindler, will be roasting whole ducks. “Crispy skins and succulent juices,” Schindler said, adding, “It’s going to be a great night.”
Anne Shisler-Hughes, who writes for Edible Queens and planned ‘Summerbeat’, said the event will “be a high quality, chill event that will raise funds for some of the park’s facilities.”
“There will be great chefs, from great restaurants filling up the shady grove barbeque area. Several local breweries will roll out the kegs to wash it all down,” Shisler-Hughes said.
Big Alice Brewery, and Bridge and Tunnel will serve up the brew, along with Rockaway Brewing Company. RBC’s owner Ethan Long understands that the roast meats will garner most of the attention, but said: “We make the beer, so we’re a good part of the story.”
Sunnyside establishments aren’t a part of the event despite Soysal’s ties to the neighborhood and his association with The Skillman Project for whom he does consulting work. He even designed the logo that the group uses to advertise their seasonal pub crawls.
The Edible Queens publisher says he frequents several of the local establishments, including Claret, Murphy’s Bar, Flynn’s Garden Inn and The Copper Kettle. “I love those places, but they aren’t hardcore meat roasters,” Soysal said. “I think they’re cool with that and hope that these businesses cash in on the after parties.”