02/01/13 10:06am

Harvesting History and Dumplings at Merit Farms


Merit Farms in its more old-school incarnation.

I’ve always wondered what was the story behind Merit Farms. For a long time the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Indian restaurant with a Tibetan, Nepali, and Bhutanese counter in the back had a super old school blue and white sign. I could never quite reconcile this 1960s style signage with the food being served inside. The disconnect was on the order of walking into B&H Dairy in the East Village to find dan dan noodles.

A while back the name of this grand Himalayan-South Asian wonderland changed to Merit Kabob and Dumpling Palace. Still I wondered about that name. One day a guest on one of my food tours told me Merit Farms was an old school Queens grocery chain. A Google search reveals that there was an outlet in Forest Hills that sold that classic old school Jewish immigrant snack, the knish. I find it pretty cool that what was once Merit Farms in Jackson Heights stills serves immigrant snacks, albeit Tibetan momos and South Asian kababs.

Merit Farms, 37-67 74th St., Jackson Heights, 718-396-5827

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  • I remember the FH Merit Farms. That was back in the days when the main take out eaten was Chinese or pizza. No Boston Market or MacDonalds in FH. Merit Farm was on the east side of Continental Ave, right near the subway entrance, tempting passers by to grab something greasy on the way home from work. Although they may have had knishes, I don’t remember anything particularly Jewish about their offerings. Their biggest seller was their fried chicken, always on display in the front window under heat lamps.