STIX Astoria Proves Everything Tastes Better on a Stick
By Ilija Sekulovski
Last time, we told you all about STIX and its origins. Stathis Antonakopoulos loved food on sticks so much, he decided to open a restaurant that featured lots of skewered options – appropriately named STIX. When their original location in Manhattan absolutely flourished, Stathis realized he needed to open more locations – and where better than Astoria?
“Astoria is my roots. Astoria is my original home,” he told us. “When I was just 21 years old, I moved here from Greece to study, and I lived and grew up in Astoria for more than a decade.” He tells us that growing up as a teenager, he consistently worked in restaurants and kitchens in Astoria, and knew that it was exactly what he wanted to do. He wanted to open a restaurant that served great food – approachable, comfortable, high quality food.
We finally headed over for a real sit down meal, and it definitely exceeded our expectations.
We started off with some drinks. STIX has a great selection of wines, and really unique, tasty cocktails. We received the suggestion to try two of their signature cocktails, and they were really refreshing and tasty.
The first was the Nicolina, which was as orange-y as it looks. It’s made with Aylesbury duck vodka, aperol, agave, lemon juice and tangerine juice. After that was the peach margarita, with tequila cabeza blanco, orange liqueur, lime juice, agave and peach nectar. Finally, one of the absolute best sellers, the Kuklaki – with Fords gin, Fruitlab organic ginger liqueur, lime juice and cucumber. The Kuklaki was our favorite, but we loved how simple and refreshing the Nicolina was.
We started with the fried calamari and the Symposium. The Symposium was MASSIVE. Like everything else on the menu, it’s homemade and fresh. It was a mix of bread and traditional Greek spreads – made with a modern and healthy twist.
With a name like STIX it’s no wonder that the big seller at this spot is food on sticks. They’ve got the classics like chicken on sticks, but they’re also doing really cool things like quinoa balls and falafel balls on sticks. We tried both and they were definitely a unique experience!
The meatballs are 100% organic beef, with a great combation of onions, parsley, and oregano, and come with the classic tzatziki sauce. The classic chicken is made unique with the honey mustard sauce.
The mac and cheese balls are super unique – they have truffle oil in them which gives them a really intense, deep flavor, and the caper aioli sauce gives them another dimension of flavor. The quinoa balls(which are a great vegetarian offering!) are made with mushrooms and roasted red peppers, and come with a really creamy, jalapeno hummus.
What we really like about the concept behind STIX is that it’s really conducive to a shared meal. You can order a bunch of different STIX, and everyone will get a combination of flavors. Even though they look small, you start getting stuffed after just a few – but it’s hard to stop popping them into your mouth!
Now – STIX isn’t just STIX. They’ve got really amazing food as well! We tried the grilled octopus, and it was really tender and light, and super fresh tasting. We also had traditional Greek spinach rice, which is fluffy wild rice and really flavorful spinach.
As a side, we have the Greek fries – which are topped with crumbly, creamy feta on top of rely warm, crunchy fries. The fries soaked up all the flavors, and were a great bite to munch between the STIX.
The lobster mac and cheese was heavenly, it was heavy and creamy and perfect comfort food.
In between all this awesome food, we had the chance to chat with Nadia – the general manager who also lives in the neighborhood, and Caroline Shannon, the director of events and catering.
On opening STIX in Astoria, Caroline told us, “It’s just a great neighborhood. Since we opened, we felt so welcomed!” Caroline works with the catering side of things – and she tells us STIX has catered everything from business parties, to luncheons and weddings.
The two tell us we can expect a lot more coming from STIX – including a new summer and brunch menu, which you can enjoy during the warm weather with their outdoor seating. Also – they’ve got a killer happy hour from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
We learned that what makes STIX unique is that nearly everything is handpicked or bought. 80-90% of the menu is organic, which is a big focus at the restaurant.
After all the chatting, we were ready to dive back into our meals – and dove right into dessert. We had the Olive Oil cake, which has kumquat-orange preserve, Greek yogurt and pistachio, the Baklava Cigars, which are made of phyllo walnut rolls, honey and chocolate dip, and the Juicy Chocolate Cake, which is rich Belgian chocolate, juicy dark chocolate cake, and cardamom crème. All had the perfect amount of sweetness – the juicy cake was definitely our favorite though.
After all the food, we took in the decor of STIX. What’s really awesome is that it was uniquely designed by local interior design firm A1, who we’ve featured before! One of the things they created was this gorgeous decoration, which is reminiscent of a classic Greek flower.
On the walls are photographs by another local Astorian, George Vordos.
Overall, we were really pleased with our experience at STIX. They do amazing delivery and take out, in addition, it’s definitely a restaurant that is gratifying to visit. It might be the big, roomy interior that’s filled with sunlight, or the warm vibes from the staff – whatever it is, STIX was welcoming and comfortable, with amazing food that matched. We’ll definitely be back.
40-17 30th Avenue