Owner Donnie D’Alessio is in the kitchen, and resident DJ Rob Select is spinning all-vinyl rock, early R & B and soul. “I wanted people to have the opportunity to come here and see the art without feeling like they had to order a full dinner,” says D’Alessio, who is serving free banana Nilla Wafer cake donuts made from scratch by his sister Montana.
Over 30 of artist Brendan Carroll’s illustrations have replaced some of the family photos that fill the restaurant’s walls. Carroll became involved with Queens Comfort when D’Alessio commissioned him to paint murals on the outside of the restaurant and its roll-down gates. Since then, Carroll has worked as a host, done hand-drawn illustrations of daily specials and now maintains social media for the restaurant.
“I’m also a curator and have been working in museums and galleries for about 10 years, so I can bang out an installation,” says Carroll, who spent over five hours hanging his work at Queens Comfort. The subject of Carroll’s pen and ink drawings include his wife Marie, his beagle Hammer, Queens Comfort staff and celebrities.
“I think as an artist it’s important to show your work in the community where you live,” Carroll says of the Astoria Art Festival. “This is the first time I’ve seen all of my drawings up on a wall.”