It all started as a concept for two Long Island boys, written on cocktail napkins. Soon after, the first CANZaCity Roadhouse opened in Westbury, Long Island and now, the second one has just opened in our own backyard on 30th Avenue in Astoria. Owners Tim Lorito and Matt Dill’s beer-themed establishment features an astounding 250 beers on tap and in canz only, with brews from all corners
of the world and for every taste. There’s a full bar serving your favorite cocktails and the ladies seem to love the legendary CANZ cocktail, served in a giant fishbowl with lots of extra-long straws for sharing. Besides that, CANZaCity offers a fun, casual “roadhouse” style ambiance with its front doors wide open and outdoor space in the rear flanked by beer barrels, making this an ideal setting for groups of friends large and small.
The real surprise for me though was the variety and quality of the food. I was expecting typical bar food where everything is fried and covered with cheese. Instead, the menu includes an impressive variety of appetizers, fresh salads, hot sandwiches, entrees and desserts. There’s even something that vegetarians can sink their teeth into.
I had a lengthy conversation with chef Vincent, who was trained in French culinary arts and lived and worked abroad. That helps to explain his take on their grilled chicken sandwich. First, tender chicken cutlets are marinated and seasoned with a blend of tarragon, parsley and thyme and grilled to retain their juice. The chicken rests on freshly baked ciabatta bread and topped with fresh mozzarella, roasted red and yellow peppers, micro arugula and lemon-garlic dressing ($9.95). Grilled yellowfin tuna is cool in the center and served on whole- wheat bread with red and yellow peppers and carrot-ginger sauce. I love the house made pear cole slaw too. Grilled, marinated skirt steak is also popular here, piled onto ciabatta bread and served with wild mushroom ragout and potato skins filled with real cheddar cheese and bacon ($16.95). The pulled pork sandwich is a two-handed affair, loaded with tender, sweet barbecued pork, shredded so that each morsel melts in your mouth ($12.95). All these sandwiches are served with regular French fries or sweet potato fries for a buck more. These tasty sandwiches can also be ordered as a plate, without the bread, and served with a side salad. It’s important to note that there is no fast food served here, so a little patience is rewarded with a freshly prepared meal, to your liking, served hot.
Some of the house favorites are the fried flounder sandwich, served with house made tartar sauce, and the Jack Daniels BBQ Salmon sandwich, served with grilled onions, mushrooms and grilled asparagus ($12.95). There are classics too, such as fish ’n chips made from ocean fresh codfish and a light crispy beer batter. My dining companion, who doesn’t eat meat, was thrilled with the roasted grilled vegetable platter. A plethora of brightly colored zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, Portobello mushroom, red onion and asparagus graced this beautiful platter and offered a feast for the eyes and the palate ($11.95). Families are welcome too and classic mac and cheese, grilled cheese, pb and j and BLT’s are available anytime for anyone looking for the ultimate comfort food.
Fresh salads include the Cobb Salad, tossed with organic greens, hard cooked egg, tomato, avocado and crumbled bleu cheese or the classic Caesar with crunchy garlic and herb croutons. The CANZ green salad is made with tender haricot verts (French green beans) and a round of gently fried goat cheese with shallot sherry vinaigrette. Did I mention chef Vincent was French trained?
You can keep it simple, yet delicious with one of eight tempting burgers. The list includes an outrageous lamb burger, with lots of garlic and herbs and a wild mushroom burger, with or without cheese. Their appetizers include a special recipe for their Buffalo wings with sauces ranging from mild to very hot, a sauce called “dirty canz”. Share a freshly grilled quesadilla with steak or shrimp or share a plate of chicken fingers or fried calamari.
Even the desserts are special here, so try the Belgian waffles and ice cream, decadent fried oreos, Junior’s cheesecake or wholesome apple crumb cake.
All puns and double entendres aside, the CANZ girls are lovely, polite and attentive servers and will offer suggestions if you can’t decide what to order. CANZaCity Roadhouse is frequented just as much by women as by men, and I saw families here too so all are truly welcome. Monday night is wings night, followed by taco Tuesdays and Wednesday Karaoke, beginning at 9:30. Visit Sunday for kegz and eggz and Mimosa fishbowls. CANZaCity Roadhouse is open seven days a week from 11am until 4am. The kitchen stays open until 1am for your late night munchies.
For an incredible selection of beer, cocktails and really fine food, served in a friendly neighborhood spot with great service, visit CANZaCity Roadhouse and bring a couple of friends.
40-11 30th Avenue, Astoria