Astoria is one of the most diverse areas in New York City. Nestled in the Long Island City area of Queens, you could find pretty much anything in Astoria. The food is fantastic, the art scene is incredible, it's easy to get to, and most importantly, it is unique to the city. We traveled to Katch Astoria and caught up with Catherine McSorely, who runs Katch with her parents. Catherine talked about how her family got into the restaurant business, and how a former NYCFC player made an impact on their business. Let's take the F Train out to Queens!
Tommie Battle: Hi Catherine! Tell me a little about yourself. How did Katch get its start?
Catherine McSorley: My Dad’s family was always in the restaurant industry, they owned Pelham Bay Diner which was very popular in the Bronx. It was something that we were always going to do, but it kind of happened a little bit later in life for my parents, and now its become a career for me. I live in Westchester, but I’m always in Astoria. I spend 20 hours out of 24 hours of the day here and Katch is our second home for my family and a lot of our customers, and it's really reassuring when our customers tell us that, but it's what makes it all worth
TB: Where did the name Katch come from?
CM: We bought Katch turnkey and kept the name three years ago. Once we bought it, we kept it.
TB: Can you describe Astoria to someone who’s never visited?
CM: A lot of young people who are starting their careers. It kind of goes between people who are really just starting in life, to people who have been here for a long time. That's kind of where the culture of Queens comes from, or at least Astoria, anyway. A lot of Greek people, a lot of people really into their culture. People who are just moving here with their friends, they just got a job, fulfilling their dream of working in this city, right? But it's much more affordable to live in Astoria, so we see a lot of differences within the customers that we get. Astoria is based on age, culture, hopes and dreams, right? But everybody loves a beer.
TB: Was it always a destination for soccer?
CM: Well, I believe that all the sports have always been in Katch. Since we acquired the space we've tried to bring it out more. So everybody comes to watch American football. But soccer? Yeah, I guess it wasn't as popular, then I think as we started to promote it, become pub partners, and see the niche of what people really like, we started to realize soccer is a big thing in Astoria and in the City.
TB: So you became a Club partner, and what’s it been like working with the team since that point?
CM: We always had this one customer who sat at the end of the bar named Marcos, and he was telling us, “I'm an NYCFC fan,” and once you realize that someone likes something 10 other people like the same thing, and then 10 more. So, while working with NYCFC we’ve always had a good relationship. We were working with a ticket rep who really had our best intention in mind. It still feels that way. Then he coordinated us with former NYCFC goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who came to do a guest bartender night and brought in a bunch of people. We’ve just always had a good experience with NYCFC.
TB: How has the last eighteen months been for Katch?
CM: But you know, when we weren't able to be at Katch, we were really thinking about what we wanted to do, but we didn't have time for. So we took the time to do what we've always wanted to do and make the changes. We redid the menu, we thought about how we can promote better like a game plan for that. We thought about how we can train our staff better. Get into the niche of soccer and see why and how people can come out. But it all really has to do with promoting a network. We were lucky to be able to reflect and make changes because a lot of restaurants were not able to make it.
TB: What’s next for Katch?
CM: There is something in the works. We definitely want to stay in Queens. We love it, and now that we're in Queens we’ll never leave. We have community built in Queens and will never break them. It also has to do with NYCFC, there's a lot of fans that we will always recognize, and want to include in our future. We want everyone involved.
Katch Astoria is located at 31-19 Newtown Ave, Queens, NY 11102. They can be found online @katchastoria on all social platforms.