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Coffee Chronicles: The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria

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[Photos: Liz Clayton]

It's no great surprise to find a thoughtful, delicious coffee enterprise in bustling Astoria—it's just a surprise it's taken this long. The Queens Kickshaw's got the goods and then some.

The cozy space departs from the beaten path of mall-like Steinway Ave and warms it with vintage desk lamp wall sconces and mixed wood. Its main culinary conceit—European-inspired artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches—hints at the idea that even gentrified Astoria isn't yet ready for a coffee-only specialty bar. But really, is a grilled cheese sandwich sideline something to complain about? We think not—just try not to lose sight of your Americano behind the 3" thick wall of Texas-sliced toast.

Serving coffee from Tarrytown's Coffee Labs, The Queens Kickshaw also boasts the enviable La Marzocco Strada espresso machine, still ranking at the top of coffee kids' coolest "new toy" list. A seasonal menu of single origin coffees can be poured to order from a V60 bar, and enjoyed at a sprawling communal table in back, or perhaps in the sunny window overlooking Broadway. Hot chocolates for the little ones are fueled by Brooklyn's Mast Bros. cocoa, and single origin espresso roasts also cruise through the burrs of the Vulcano grinder.

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The coffee's calibre might not have climbed to the city's highest peaks yet, but we sampled a cappuccino full of earthy, bakers-chocolate notes that's sure to put a spring sparkle in the eye of even skeptical sippers in the ever-evolving old world neighborhood.

The Queens Kickshaw

40-17 Broadway, Astoria NY 11103 (map)
718-777-0913; www.thequeenskickshaw.com

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