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Meet the Owner: Mark Boccia of Bourbon Street

Bayside eatery has been serving Southern cuisine along Bell Boulevard for 14 years.

For 14 years, Bayside’s Bourbon Street has been northeast Queens’s premier spot for Southern styled cooking.

The popular eatery, located at 40-12 Bell Blvd., offers everything from steaks and seafood to vegetarian and pasta dishes.

Owner Mark Boccia, who also operates Kew Gardens’ Austin’s Ale House, said he and Chef Joe Cannella decided to open the eatery in 1998 due to a lack of Southern cooking in the community.

“My chef always wanted to do Southern fare,” Boccia said. “There were really no places in Bayside doing that kind of cuisine. We said, ‘Let’s do something different.’”

Bourbon Street’s menu includes a variety of burgers, steaks, seafood courses, desserts and signature dishes, such as barbecue shrimp and pasta Jumbalaya.

“We serve a lot of local fish and all our desserts, breads and biscuits are baked here,” Boccia said. “We have po’ boys, signature blackened burgers, five different types of wings and a very large Sunday brunch.”

The New York Post named Bourbon Street the best brunch in Queens on a budget.

But the eatery’s menu is not the only facet of the business that makes it unique in northeast Queens, Boccia said.

“We always have something going on,” he said. “There are always events here and we have a lively bar scene, whether it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon or 2 o’clock in the morning. And we’re big into raising money for the community.”

On Friday, Bourbon Street is hosting a fundraiser to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways. A total 50 percent of the proceeds raised will go to storm victims.

The event, which is from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., will cost $45 per person and include mixed drinks and a buffet.

Boccia said the restaurant frequently hosts parties, from christenings and baptisms to bridal showers. In December, Bourbon Street will hold its annual Christmas event during which local children will be able to eat free and meet Santa Claus.

He said the eatery is among the most popular in the community.

“We have a huge regular customer base,” Boccia said. “And it’s growing all the time. We have more than 4,000 people on our Facebook list.”

In the new year, Bourbon Street will add a number of new items, such as the Flatliner Burger, which has pulled pork, bacon and grilled cheese, and the Stuffed Burger, which includes champagne sauce and blue cheese.

Other new items will include black-eyed pea hummus, pulled pork quesadillas, Jack Daniels marinated steak, a grilled vegetable wrap, red velvet cheesecake and Panini with grilled marinated chicken, fresh artichoke hearts, goat cheese and sun dried tomato pesto.

“We’ll have 12 to 15 new items,” said Cannella. “We like to try new stuff. We’ll have a whole new section of hamburgers. By the first week of January, we’ll have a whole new menu for the new year.”

Bourbon Street is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 718-224-2200 or visit the eatery’s website.

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