The Breadbox Café welcomes the community into a modern space with exposed brick, fresh-baked bagels, healthy salads, and friendly people. The menu emphasizes freshness, using locally grown and organic produce when possible, grinding their own meat, and baking bagels fresh from scratch each morning. Smother a dough ring in your choice of cream cheese ($1.95+), or pile on the lox, cream cheese, tomato, and onion ($7.95). Sandwiches, including the vegan veggie with avocado, shitake mushrooms, sprouts, and pepper relish on ciabata ($8.95), and the steak house with chopped short rib on a brioche roll ($11.95), fill the empty hollows in hands and bellies. For a refreshing mouthful, forkdive into a salad, such as the tuna nicoise ($11.95) and farmer's country, a plate piled high with lettuce and organic veggies, spiced walnuts, blue cheese, and apples ($9.50). Breakfast is served all day.
While it’s listed by TimeOut New York as one of the city’s “best coffeeshops for doing work,” Sweetleaf is also a quintessential Queens hangout. Located in a 19th-century building with exposed tin walls and ceiling, the shop has a turntable with vinyl records, Old World-style furniture, and expansive windows that open up to Long Island City. Sweetleaf has made a name for itself as one of the few shops in Queens brewing Stumptown Coffee Roasters beans. Meticulously made espresso is its other strength—baristas use a Florentine La Marzocco machine, and digitally weigh each espresso shots to ensure extra-precise drinks. Sweetleaf’s Ice Rocket Fuel drinks blends iced coffee with chicory and maple syrup, while its hot chocolate includes homemade marshmallows. Pepper pear goat cheese scones, coconut oatmeal cookies, and other pastries are also available to balance the caffeinated beverages.
For hundreds of years, Hungarian women in Transylvania have prepared kürtőskalács, or chimney cakes, by wrapping freshly kneaded, sugar-covered dough around wooden cylinders and then baking it in brick ovens. The menu at Chimney Cake NYC exclusively features variations of the hollow, spiral-shaped desserts, including the traditional cake—a thin, yeasty pastry with a caramelized-sugar crust. Though all cakes incorporate organic milk and eggs, updated versions bear toppings such as coconut flakes, crushed walnuts, and iPod shavings. Steamy cups of coffee, espresso, and organic tea accompany the cakes, cleansing palates between bites.
Sweets reign supreme at Kulu Desserts, an Asian-fusion shop where guests can fill up on treats such as ginger milk pudding, red-bean soup, hot peanut paste, and crepes with a Japanese twist. The Brooklyn dessert spot pairs these delicacies with fruit smoothies, bubble tea, mocha earl grey tea, milk shakes, and other tasty drinks.
The Local Store's neighborhood feel, coupled with a focus on whole grains and locally acquired ingredients, creates a welcoming and savory atmosphere. The morning and midday menu consists of pastries, sweets, and snacks, all freshly baked on the premises without the use of corn syrup, trans fats or other shortcuts cribbed from The Secret World of Alex Mack Companion Cooking Guide. Baked options include the breakfast-y fresh-fruit turnover ($3.50), the snack-y spice cheese straw ($1.50), and the savory-y red-velvet brownie ($3.75), among others. Satisfy a lunchtime urge with a salad ($3–$8) like the spinach and arugula salad, or a sandwich ($3 half, $6 full) such as chicken salad or ham and brie with apple. A full coffee bar provides the liquid partner to the sunny meal. Get a large coffee for $1.50, large latte for $2.75, or large cappuccino for $2.25 to help jumpstart an idle mental motor.
A long plush bench stretches along the intimate interior at Caffe Martier, where passersby pause to linger over a latte and dine on continental bistro fare, which was praised in Time Out New York. Patrons can practice flirtatious winks in the café’s wall of mirrors as they take a seat at the expansive bench, sipping espresso drinks or Ghirardelli cocoa. Fruit toasts and other bites accompany coffee at breakfast, and later meals comprise light, fresh fare including mushroom ravioli. Complemented by glasses of wine, diners savor vivid sandwiches, such as the sesame ginger chicken wrap and a baguette layered with salmon, goat cheese, and cucumber slices.
At Vic’s Bagel Bar, bagel buffs can get extra-choosy about their favorite boiled and baked bread-ring selections. The menu boasts 16 pseudo-donuts ($1.10 each), 13 spreads ($2–$6.10 per quarter-pound), and 42 mix-ins (most are $0.50), which can be combined to create designs that are made-to-order right in front of the customer. Start by snagging the bagel of your wildest dayfantasies, including cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, and whole-wheat everything, and add a delicious spread: hummus ($4), Nutella ($4), tofu cream cheese ($3), or egg-white salad ($4.75). Then, confuse your taste buds with a delectable lineup of mix-ins, such as peaches, cucumbers, goat cheese, and wasabi, to end up with the final product. Wash out your gullet with a small iced coffee ($2.25) or a large flash flood of herbal tea ($2.10).