Photos Joseph Torres Photos Joseph Torres On Saturday night, December 3rd, I made my way down to “The Strand Smokehouse” in Astoria, located at 25-27 Broadway. This barbecue restaurant and bar are known for their smoked meats, whiskey and beer – as well as their live music. My husband and I came here tonight anticipating just that. On tonight’s “menu” was Mama Juke – a New Orleans-inspired bluesy folk band. Consisting of four young men, actor and lead singer Elijah Bridges plays harmonica and acoustic guitar; Amos Rose brings soul with his voice and plays lead Telecaster guitar; Pete O’Neill, on the bass, has recently been featured in The New York Times; and Jon Wert; on the drums, is well known in the city’s music scene.

On the menu is your choice of smoked meats like steak, pulled pork and short ribs; and sides such as salad, steak fries, and cornbread, to name a few. We opted for the smoked steak, steak fries and salad. The steak was smoked to perfection – it literally melted in your mouth. The steak fries were so large, they were each almost the size of a whole potato!

With much anticipation, Mama Juke began their first song, an upbeat number that immediately had everyone’s attention, tapping their feet and bopping their heads to the beat. Their music brought everyone alive and then they easily flowed into their next song “Mama You Know I Die For You.” They have a very deep rock and bluesy vibe to their music. They played an original song off their upcoming album. Amos invited everyone to stay tonight and party Mama Juke style – the Strand Smokehouse is open daily from 12 pm-4 am, and they planned on being there the whole night.

Elijah asked Jon to “Play something sweeter,” and they sang a sweet melody, “Why Don’t You Be My Winding

Wheel?” They proceeded to play some more upbeat songs with a lot of soul and funk, and another love song with an upbeat tempo. Elijah ended the night with a solo on his harmonica. The Strand Smokehouse plus Mama Juke was a perfect combination for a night out in Astoria. The food was great, the music was thriving, and everyone had a wonderful night. You can check out The Strand online at, but I advise you take the trip down Broadway and pop right in, you will be delighted by their food and atmosphere. You can also check out Mama Juke at for more information on the band and their upcoming shows.—Erica Torres

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