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World Artisian Market Hosts Yelp Community Event

By Britney Trachtenberg

Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

The World Artisian Market in Astoria hosted a Yelp Community Event and launch party on Thurs., May 9. The participating restaurants— Arepa Lady, Hiro Ramen, Mister Everything, Urban Vegan Roots, Sala, Sotto La Luna, and Elevenses—  handed out appetizers to members of the Yelp Elite Squad and their friends.

The Yelp Elite Squad is a special group of locals who write Yelp reviews. Elites have a special badge on their profile and receive invitations to exclusive events at restaurants in their communities.

Each restaurant handed out their own appetizers. Arepa Lady gave out cheese arepas. Hiro Ramen served takoyaki, edamame, seaweed salad, gyoza, ube fries, dumplings, and fried shrimp. Attendees at Mister Everything ate chips and guacamole, mushroom risotto balls, and veggie spring rolls. Urban Vegan Roots plated vegan fish cakes— cleverly called “the not so crabby patties— and Korean barbeque wings made with vegan chicken. Sala distributed manchego and quince, croquettes, pan tumaca con jamon, pan tumaca, and a choice between rose or red sangria. Sotto La Luna dished out fresh cacio e pepe and samplings of different pizzas, while Elevenses served morning buns.

Samantha Cillemi-Berenz, Yelp Queens Senior Community Manager, said, “We are so lucky to be part of the most diverse borough in all of New York City. The World Artisan Market is an amazing representation of Queens and our community as it showcases an array of different cuisines. As the Yelp Queens Senior Community Manager I knew I had to play a part in helping bring awareness to this space in an effort to support all these incredible local businesses.”

David Segovia, General Manager of Sala, worked with the landlord to participate in the Yelp Community Event. He said, “We are an independent restaurant and we are following the lead of the landlord of the building.” 

Attendees had varying years of experience with writing for Yelp. Jamel Sweat of Jackson Heights created an account sixteen years ago when Yelp was a new company. Gerardo Aponte started writing reviews ten years ago after being inspired by his friend. Phil Harris of Sunnyside started writing reviews six years ago for fun. Nicole Karavas of Astoria began one year ago to get more involved with the community. 

Karavas said, “I live in the area and I pass this block many times, but I’ve never been to any of these and I’m so glad I came. Every place is so nice. The ambiance, all the people I’ve been meeting, the owners, the managers are just so amazing.”

Alana Kadison from Astoria said, “I live close by and I always pass it and I was saying ‘oh, I want to stop there [and] and I want to try it, but I never got to before.” She loved the pasta at Sotto La Luna and the arepa from Arepa Lady. When asked if she would come back to any of the restaurants, she said, “I’m definitely going to go back to Soto and try different kinds of pastas.”

Tablao Flamenco performed dances for attendees. Peter Basal from Forest Hills and spokesperson for the group said, “Flamenco has a lot of improvisational elements as everybody saw tonight. It has different forms and it [has] a lot of poetry. It talks about life. It talks about love.”

Credit: Britney Trachtenberg

Throughout the year, people can nominate themselves for the Yelp Elite Squad on Yelp’s website. The Elite Council reviews the applications.

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