June 1, 2021 By Christina Santucci
A new community-led organization plans to showcase Elmhurst’s culinary offerings with a tour of the neighborhood take-out restaurants this weekend.
Participants will have the opportunity to sample Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine at Saturday’s event, hosted by the newly formed group. Back home.
The name of the group plays on coming to cook at home, said one of the organization’s founders, Bryan Lozano.
“But above all, I didn’t think there was a better way to represent the house than through the food. When I got the idea, it felt like a long winter for the neighborhood, so we were excited to bring people home, ”he said.
Lozano, a first generation Filipino American, has teamed up with several other first and second generation Americans from diverse backgrounds as well as cooking enthusiasts to create the group, which is in the process of applying to become an organization in non-profit.
During the restaurant tour, ticket holders will receive specialty dishes packaged in a take-out container at each of the five participating restaurants – and can choose to eat out or take out the food to go. The distance from start to finish is approximately half a mile.
The organizers will provide ticket holders with a “passport” card at the first location so that diners can receive their five courses. Returning home volunteers also plan to be on hand throughout the course to help participants.
At the first stop, participants will receive Tahu Isi – stuffed tofu – and cendol – a sweet frozen dessert – from Indo Java. Other dishes on the tour include pork and leek dumplings from Lao Bei Fang Dumpling House; a pork chop on rice Taiwanese gourmet; and Homemade Roti Canai – crispy Indian pancake served with curry chicken dip – from Malaysian Coconut Cuisine
The last stop of the crawl – EIM Khao Mun Kai Elmhurst – will serve Khao Mun Gai, or Thai chicken rice.
Homecoming sells tickets for timed intervals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. – and only 25 tickets are available for each hour-long slot. Thursday will be the last day to buy tickets, said Lozano
Tickets for the Saturday exploration cost $ 60 – with $ 15 of that amount for five meals at New Life Pantry at Elmhurst.
Attendees can purchase a Homecoming-branded tote bag for an additional $ 20 – of which $ 15 would go toward the purchase of five additional meals for the pantry.
Organizers also plan to provide a number of tickets to frontline workers at Elmhurst Hospital, and the ticket price includes a 20% tip for each participating restaurant.
Lozano said he was eager to kick off the event in Elmhurst, and the founders of Homecoming are hoping to expand to other neighborhoods in the future.
He grew up in Elmhurst and returned to the neighborhood in December and sought to give back to the place that shaped its identity.
“I grew up playing mahjong and cricket in the park and eating all this amazing food. I had this really privileged childhood, ”he said.
Lozano highlighted how Elmhurst was hit hard by the pandemic – but also noted that some in the community struggled long before COVID-19 hit.
The neighborhoods of Elmhurst and South Corona had among the highest percentages of people experiencing food difficulties in the city – and the highest in Queens – according to Robin Hood. Poverty monitoring report in 2019. Food hardship identifies those who are short of food or fear of running out of food throughout the year.
Elmhurst / South Corona also had the second highest percentage of restaurant workers in the city in 2018, according to US census data. When the pandemic hit, many restaurant workers lost their jobs or saw their hours cut.
Meanwhile, the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and South Corona were among those with the lowest percentages of restaurants and bars receiving COVID-related PPP loans, according to a 2020 report from the State Comptroller’s Office.
“We had a simple idea. Let’s do something tangible that we can see in our communities, ”said Lozano.
The founders of Homecoming hope the exploration will showcase Elmhurst’s restaurants and business owners – who “represent the spirit, culture and vibrancy of the neighborhood.”
“It’s not just about encouraging people to come here, it’s about building a relationship with the people behind the food. We want you to hear their stories, ”Lozano said.
To do this, Homecoming provides an audio guide of participating restaurants through the app, Gesso, and features restaurant owner videos on Instagram.
“We founded Homecoming because for us, home isn’t just where you live, it’s the communities you come from, the restaurants you support and the people you love,” the organization wrote. sure social media.
Event planners also schedule garbage collection so that garbage is not left behind at every stop.
“When it comes to values, we want to make sure everything works, doesn’t create a nuisance and supports the neighborhood in general,” Lozano said.