May 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A cafe that closed earlier this year is reopening under new ownership – and with a slightly different twist.
The new location, called Concept Coffee, will open Thursday at 44-61 11th St. in a space previously occupied by The Mill.
Concept Coffee will offer a range of coffees, teas and specialty drinks such as mocktails. The store will also serve a range of light bites, including paninis and pastries.
The new facility will also serve as a gathering place for local real estate agent Kayla Lee to meet her clients.
Lee, co-owner of Concept Coffee, works for Manhattan-based real estate firm Serhant, and she leads a team of five agents in the Long Island City and Astoria market.
The establishment is designed like a regular cafe, although there is a large flat-screen TV on one wall – with a gold frame – which will display Lee’s real estate listings. There will also be an iPad near the screen where customers can book appointments with Lee or his team.
Lee said she decided to open Concept Coffee as she was looking to secure space for her team to meet potential buyers.
She also wanted to see a cafe reopen at 11and Street space since she frequented The Mill for years.
“I’m very enterprising in spirit and when this opportunity arose, I decided to combine the two concepts…” said Lee, who is also co-owner of Art of the Barber, a barber shop. hairstyle located at 27-19 44th Dr.
Lee and his team of agents will use Concept Coffee as a base to meet customers during the day.
The facility is about 650 square feet and can accommodate about 12 people inside, she said.
After hours, Lee will use the space to hold real estate seminars, community homeownership workshops and other client networking events.
For the coffee business, Lee partners with Shaun Moamem, a hospitality industry professional, and Andrew Marquez, a master barista who lives in Long Island City.
The cafe will include a neon sign on one wall that reads “it’s time to grind,” which Lee says has a double meaning. “Time to grind” relates to the grinding of coffee beans and is also a term in the real estate industry for restlessness.
The owners will paint a mural on the exterior wall on the 44th Drive side of the building in the coming weeks. They are also looking to open up sidewalk seating.
Lee said she knows the area very well from her real estate work and has lived in Long Island City for a decade. She currently lives in Westchester.
The space, she said, is close to several large condominium buildings and she hopes to take advantage of the area’s heavy foot traffic.
“It’s also a block from Murray Park and we really want to provide light food for families playing at the park,” Lee said.
Concept Coffee will offer pastries including croissants and scones as well as freshly squeezed paninis. There will also be donuts from Brooklyn-based donut maker Brandon’s Donuts, Lee said.
Lee said Concept Coffee will offer hot and cold coffees including iced Cortada, iced matcha as well as hot chocolate and lemonade. There will also be a range of teas as well as half a dozen different mocktails.
“We’re really excited to open,” Lee said. “We think this will be a place where the neighborhood will come together.”