Sugar Freak (REOPEN) - Astoria (Queens), New York

UPDATE: **June 26th, 2017 - Sugar Freak reopened in a new space across from the old restaurant in Astoria.
*As of February 28, 2017, Sugar Freak has closed its doors. According to the owner’s farewell note, it seems that they are working on developing a new restaurant concept. I hope they continue to serve Astoria with their beautiful food & wish them a fond farewell.

With a foot of snow still on the ground in New York and mounds of powdered sugar lacing the fringes of my daily daydreams, I knew the perfect place to take my friend, A,  for her birthday brunch: Sugar Freak. In lieu of the vacation I’m unable to take, I walk down 30th Avenue in Queens toward Sugar Freak, fifteen minutes before it opens for Sunday brunch, indulging in thoughts of the day’s menu selections; something to transport me temporarily back to Louisiana, the New Orleans that always seems to be on my mind.

A and I have been to Sugar Freak about half a dozen times and it just gets better each time. From the thick cornbread drizzled with melted, herb butter to the fried chicken, crispier than the air outside; this laid back, Louisiana kitchen is distinctly comforting.

Every time I visit, I crave the zesty-yet-sweet pecan vinaigrette used on their mixed greens and wonder if it’s polite to ask for the recipe. However, today I order the full Sugar Freak Breakfast with scrambled eggs, well-done bacon, cheesy grits, a biscuit with country gravy, and copious amounts of Community coffee to wash it all down.

The European vibe I found while visiting New Orleans a few years ago endeared the city to me forever. Sugar Freak, with its delectable comfort food and eccentricities--like old license plates lining the walls and zydeco music constantly playing in the bathrooms--brings me a little southern heat when it’s cold outside.

Since I can’t live in Louisiana, I will settle for living near a well-loved, well-run, well-done restaurant that recreates the vibe of a city I adore.