Panini seeking Astorians will have to load up on carbs elsewhere because La Bottega Astoria on the corner of 30th Avenue and 41st Street closed today due to failure to pay taxes. Bright orange signs emblazoned with the word “seized” cling to La Bottega’s glass façade. Rubbernecking passersby can see tables still set, a blinking espresso machine, a wet kitchen floor and a pastry case still filled with individual sized cups of tiramisu.
The food at La Bottega is of high and consistent quality. The menu offers a wide range of thoughtful options for vegetarians and pescetarians. The restaurant never seems bustling, perhaps because it is a franchise and therefore feels relatively generic when compared to the sophisticatedly curated menu of Il Bambino, Astoria’s other panini joint and foodie haven. La Bottega’s service is friendly but slow and the restaurant’s ventilation system is sluggish, leaving the few customers who do eat in smelling like garlic and toasted bread upon exit.
Will Astorians suffer in the aftermath of this panini apocalypse? Likely not. But it’s hard not to wonder how La Bottega’s staff will fare in this time of uncertainty.