FEBRUARY 2 0 1 8 I BOROMAG.COM 17
fined menu. His pastry and fine dining background
are evident in descriptions of each item
on the chalk wall behind the cafe’s counter.
Many of the carefully crafted components have
unusual but tasty twists.
"Every tiny little flavor and texture has to be
there for a reason and developed properly,”
He said he wants to give people food they feel
good about, and that he cooks from the heart.
Some of the dishes incorporate housemade
ingredients, like almond butter, Greek yogurt,
croissants (vegan and regular) and multigrain
bread. Some options are influenced by Astoria’s
Greek presence, and there are plenty of vegan
and gluten-free offerings.
Romano said he is very careful about cross-contamination
to keep customers safe. He also tries to
use local ingredients as much as possible.
The coffee provider, Joe Coffee, is one of
the cafe’s local partners. QWNS is the first restaurant
in the borough to serve the Red Hookbased
brew, and has the exclusive license in
Queens, Romano said.
He added that the cafe’s team includes some
of the best baristas in New York, who will make
pour-overs, iced coffee and cold brew in addition
to other classics. He said they ensure the
coffee is balanced and brewed properly.
“There’s so much that goes into it,” Romano
said. “You can taste the difference.”
For those who expect only coffee, a step inside
QWNS makes it clear the cafe has more
to offer. The dining setup itself seems to
bring neighbors together, with close seating
at a few small, distressed metal tables, a communal
table and seating alongside the window
looking out onto 31st. A custom-painted
map of the N/W line covers one wall, and the
others are blank — for now. Romano said the
team wants to fill them with local artists’ work
in the future.
I came in with a friend for lunch on the first Saturday
the cafe was open to find groups of friends,
couples, families and individuals filling the seats.
I ordered the vyro, Romano’s vegan version of a
gyro, and tried the chicken sandwich, which Romano
said are two of the most popular items.
My Greek inspired meal, one of the four sandwiches
offered, wasn’t quite like a gyro, but it
hit the spot with crunchy, chia-crusted eggplant
and a spicy tahini kick rolled inside soft, housemade
scallion naan. To Romano, the point is
that it is different, since customers can get a
The chicken sandwich tasted incredibly fresh
and was complemented by kale pesto and fluffy