Laissez-Faire | In Love & Free Trade

Culinary Meanderings in Queens Not So Jolly
February 24, 2009, 12:10 am
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Thailand Center Point

Photo: Taiyo O.

Since it’s highly anticipated opening on Valentine’s Day, Jollibee has been the mecca of Filipino “soul food” in Woodside, Queens. The chain was previously exclusive to California and Nevada, but the new branch in Woodside marks Jollibee’s East Coast debut. Days after its opening, the line of customers still led outside and around the corner. I spoke with the Dining Manager, who said they didn’t close until 3 a.m. on the day of the opening. Some of the people in line, who had been waiting for at least a couple of hours, had commuted about half an hour from Connecticut and Long Island – some for the second time since they weren’t able to get in on a previous day after waiting just as long.

Wandering around Woodside this afternoon, I didn’t see a line outside Jollibee and thought I’d finally be able to try the Chickenjoy customers in line had raved about the previous day. However, as I made my way to the front of the ropes I came to a halt. The line was inside stretching back to the entrance. Disappointingly, I’d have to wait another day.

I ended up dining at Thailand’s Center Point, a deli and take-out restaurant nearby at 63-19 39th Ave. The menu boasts home-style Thai cuisine in a quaint and quirky atmosphere. The owner is a lovely Thai woman who opened the deli about ten years ago and just recently added a restaurant. However, the deli/restaurant’s business has been overshadowed by the well-publicized and established SriPraPhai Thai Restaurant down the street at 64-13 39th Avenue.

In a city of crowds, sometimes the precious commodity is serenity. For an underdog like Thailand’s Center Point, the peace is a perfect break from the hustle n’ bustle of popular restaurants, while dining on great Thai and nixing the curry paste from the grocery list.