FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 27, 2020 • BUZZ • THE QUEENS COURIER 45
Photo by Joshua Scherr
Little Chef, Little Cafe wants to become a staple in LIC
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
Little Chef, Little Cafe has served up
health-conscious sweet and savory treats
for about four months right off of Vernon
Th e cafe was the next step for Diana
Manalang, a self-taught chef with more
than 20 years of experience in the hospitality
business. Manalang ran her own
catering and meal prep business (Little
Chef, Little Kitchen), for about two years,
and said she wasn’t in a rush to fi nd brick
and mortar for a cafe. But when the space
that she’d been stalking for four years
became available, she knew it was the
right time to move in.
“Everything’s either on Vernon, or on
the center or on either side of the street —
there’s nothing right in the middle here.
So I thought it’d just be nice to have a little
coff ee shop,” Manalang said.
Th e bright, intimate cafe with wooden
accents is located at 5-43 48th Ave.,
only a three-minute walk from the 7 train.
Th eir daily menu has all your classic cafe
off erings — breakfast empanadas, coffee,
smoothies, acai bowls, baked goods
and soups — but when it comes to ingredients,
Manalang likes to keep it fun and
And because the cafe doesn’t have a full
kitchen, Manalang gets creative by using
the oven to bake her empanadas (they
have four variations that range from $3.50
to $4.50, including bacon, egg and cheese
“We gear a lot toward being able to
cheat a little bit without feeling guilty
and also be able to give your kids a little
sweet treat without it being an overload of
sugar,” Manalang said.
Th e cafe also off ers ready-to-eat prepared
meals that change every day, such
as turkey bolognese with veggie noodles
and lemon rosemary chicken, caulifl ower
mash and green beans.
A l t h o u g h
Manalang isn’t a
oft en consults with
them and does extensive
research in order to
ingrain healthy options in her
menus. Most of their meals align with
paleo diets (which promotes eating mostly
lean meats, fi sh, fruits, vegetables, nuts
and seeds), and Whole30 diets (which is
designed to remove infl ammatory foods
like legumes and artifi cial sugars).
“But it still tastes good,” Manalang said.
“It’s clean eating and preparation.”
As a proud dog parent, Manalang dedicated
a wall for photos of the neighborhood’s
furry residents. Th ey even have
a takeout window that’s meant for fellow
dog parents who might be walking
their pup and want to grab a coff ee while
they’re at it.
Manalang wants to be a staple in Long
Island City, a neighborhood she says is
“big and small.” Th ey open their doors for
diff erent opportunities, such as hosting
birthday parties for neighborhood kids
as well as partnering with Gantry
Kids and Teens and the Girl
Scouts to promote cooking
“We do a lot to give
back to the community,”
said. “If you want to
be part of the community,
have to be part
of a community. We
can’t just pretend to
Little Chef, Little Cafe
is open Monday through
Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
and on Saturday and Sunday from 8
a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit littlechefl ittlecafe.
com or email info@littlechefl ittlecafe.
Diana Manalang is the owner of Little Chef, Little Cafe on 5-43 48th Ave.