‘Chopped’ winner to close Forest Hills restaurant
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Jun 13, 2018 | 1926 views | 0 0 comments | 101 101 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Another Forest Hills business is closing, and this time it belongs to a Food Network’s “Chopped” winner.

Jason Zukas, owner of Tazzina, first opened the Italian restaurant on 88th Street in Glendale in 2011. After moving to 102-15 Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills in 2014, the restaurant became known in the neighborhood for its natural Mediterranean style inspired by Zukas’ travels.

Last Wednesday, Zukas announced that it was time to move his establishment somewhere else. The restaurant’s last dinner service will be on June 30.

“Between the neighborhood changing, huge problems with the landlord and business being slow, I have decided to close and look for a new location,” Zukas said. “We’ve had some great times in these four years here and made so many new friends.”

Zukas, who was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, bypassed traditional culinary schools and instead learned to cook in restaurant kitchens in places such as Manhattan, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.

Dinner served at Tazzina includes red snapper livornese, truffled gnocchi, porcini crusted prime New York strip and chicken scarpariello.

Zukas participated in “Chopped” during the show’s second season. He won the competition and earned a $10,000 grand prize. He later returned to the show to take part in a “Chopped Champions” episode.

This isn’t the first time that a famed restaurant has left the neighborhood.

In late 2015, Danny Brown shuttered his restaurant Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen on 104-02 Metropolitan Avenue, also citing landlord issues regarding the rent.

Brown’s restaurant was the first in Queens to receive a Michelin Guide star. He eventually moved it to the Upper East Side after a ten-year stint in Forest Hills.

In nearby Rego Park, kosher deli Ben’s Best at 96-40 Queens Boulevard recently announced that it was closing after 73 years in business. Owner Jay Parker has been a critic of the Department of Transportation’s installation of bike lanes along the boulevard.

He attributed a decline in business to the bike lanes and will be closing on June 30.

As for Zukas, he plans on reopening Tazzina, but hasn’t found the right the location yet.

“This is not the end of Tazzina, just a little timeout until I find the right spot again,” he said. “Tazzina was founded in 2010 and still has so much life in her. We’ll be back soon better than ever.”
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