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.
The friendly baristas at Communitea brew aromatic teas and coffees alongside savory breakfast and lunch dishes. Saunter in to sample organic and loose-leaf teas ($1.75–$3.50), which come brewed fresh by the tender, caring hands of an actual staff member. Sugary baked treats ($2.25–$2.75) such as scones come house-made each day, and solid-food opponents may wish to sip a fresh-fruit smoothie ($4.50–$5.50). If heartier rations beckon your belly, nosh on the rotating selection of salads ($4.50–$8.50), sandwiches ($7.50), or paninis ($7.75). For individuals looking to start a tea colony in their home, each staff member is happy to dish out the hottest tips on the tastiest and safest tea-making methods.
Brothers William and James Conway took the first Mister Softee truck for a spin in 1956, laying the foundation for a tasty legacy of soft-serve treats. Summer-weary hands can find cool relief with a mitt-fitting cone of chocolate, vanilla, or swirl, which can be colorfully topped with sprinkles or dipped in chocolate or cherry topping ($2.50–$4.50). The truck also blends cool, creamy drinks, including strawberry and Oreo milkshakes ($4.50) and root-beer floats ($5), and sundaes arrive deliciously topped with butterscotch, crushed cherries, pineapple, and the required permit that allows them to be consumed the other six days of the week. Desserters can enjoy Mister Softee’s sweets amid the artistically inclined confines of Socrates Sculpture Park, where the truck parks its sweet-wielding wheels, or between 36th and 30th Avenues when it's on the move.
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.
Although the vine-wrapped trellises between each booth evoke the feel of an Old-World trattoria, the fluttering Italian and American flags beside Tuttobene's front entrance demonstrate its commitment to the cultural mélange that inspires New-World pizzerias. A brick oven full of red-hot meteorites roasts the gourmet and specialty pizzas, which always include a healthy drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil along with toppings such as smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, or housemade hot sauce. To accommodate virtually any taste or diet, the chefs can also prepare these pies with whole-wheat dough and vegan Daiya cheese. Handmade linguine, ziti, or spaghetti as well as baked portions of veal parmigiana or eggplant rollatini help complete the menu of homey comfort foods.