OK. The Café is open, and it isn't quite what I expected at all. It's a great addition to the nabe, but is trying to fill a market niche that may only exist in Jackson Heights. There are a number of reasons this place is good news.
Fairly clean, modern design, nice lighting, neon labels for the different counters, flat-screen TVs, paintings, and music that varies in volume but isn't overwhelming, until they turn on the blender. Also nice restrooms.
Bakery - mostly Uruguayan-Argentinian, especially the more elegant pastries and cake, custard, fruit things from La Nueva Bakery. Also empanadas and sandwiches de miga which are made with white bread and fillings ranging from tuna salad, ham and cheese, egg salad, tomato, all the way to corn.
Expresso machine - probably good but basic expresso drinks. It's not trying to be Starbucks.
Full bar - Bud on tap, lots of fancy liquors and pretty martini glasses, etc. hanging above.
Juice bar - selection of fresh fruit and probably veggie juices as well as Colombian fruit shakes.
Breakfast -Selection of Colombian and American breakfasts seemingly available all day.
Menu - salads, appetizers, arepas with different cheese and meat combos, seafood, hot dogs (called 'panchos' here), individual pizzas, ribs, not much meat. Definitely leaning toward Colombian.
I had a house salad - lettuce in different presentations, watercress, tomatoes, hearts of palm, avocado and green olives. On the tables they have, besides regular vinegar and oil, garlic oil and roasted tomato and basil oil. A very nice salad and surprisingly filling. I combined this with a chuzo (beef kabob) which was pretty good, served with arepitas which I found quite light and almost fluffy. I ate a whole one and don't remember when I last took more than a nibble from one of these 'little stones', a definite plus. This, plus Perrier, came to $9.95. I couldn't eat another bite, not even a complementary coffee or drink Coco offered after I quizzed him about the place. I must confess. I was at first disappointed in the menu, but.....
POSSIBLY BEST FEATURE - HOURS:
Mon-Thurs: 6 a.m - midnight
Fri-Sat - 6 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Can't remember Sunday, probably midnight.
So now we have our own South American version of an Astoria-Greek pastry shop that stays open late with good coffee and drinks. But it also opens early and serves breakfast. Those are in short supply east of Jackson House here. (But no Armenian, alas.)
P.S. There is another newish place barely in Elmhurst that serves drinks and expresso, cappuccino, etc. but no food and is open from about 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. called Café Terraza on Gleane, I believe, right behind the Independence Bank on Roosevelt between 83/84. It may be out of the way but has a nice vibe, a bilingual, multigenerational clientele with bossa nova, tango, Latin Rock and other live music on some nights, possibly internet and changing art exhibits. I haven't posted before about it because it only has food for art openings on certain Sunday afternoons, I think, but it can be a great place to sit with a book or meet friends.
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