BY JESSICA MILITELLO
Coffee Plus Cake, a new café located on 25-11 Astoria Blvd., is easy to spot by its expansive window that give passersby a perfect view of customers sitting at their tables, either catching up with a friend, or just enjoying the moment on their own with their hot coffee and handmade treats.
This is exactly what owner Zaynab Abdullah had in mind when she set her sights on opening her very own coffee shop, which officially opened to the neighborhood on Jan. 11. But as the shop’s name suggests, Coffee Plus Cake is much more than a coffee shop, as Abdullah personally makes all of the store’s treats from scratch with her own creative recipes.
“I make everything in the small kitchen here,” said Abdullah. “We’re taking a mix of my American and Middle Eastern cultures [in my background], and I like to mash those together and create treats that people are familiar with but have a little bit of a twist, too.”
Coffee Plus Cake is Abdullah’s first individually owned business venture, but prior to her café she was a part of founding the international ice cream company Four Winters as the head of product development and U.S. operations, one of which is located in Long Island City. Before her life as a self-employed entrepreneur, she worked in Information Technology as a project manager. A desire for change from working in a 9-5 setting is what inspired her to pursue her dreams and go to culinary school, which led to her opening up her own coffee shop.
“[In I.T.], I dealt with keeping people in line for their projects and deadlines and I didn’t want to be that person anymore,” said Abdullah. “I wanted to have fun with what I was doing and I wanted to be creative. I’ve always loved the kitchen, I always loved to bake, so it was time for a transition.”
The shop has many fresh made treats to offer, like their fudge cake made with espresso, chocolate and buttercream and their cinnamon buns which are covered in a thick layer of sweet icing. But another one of their go-to treats are the orange blossom pistachio scones as well as a berry cake with a rose scented buttercream.
And with fresh goods, it’s only natural to expect a fresh cup of coffee. The shop makes sure to get their coffee grounds fresh daily from a Brooklyn-based company called Partners Coffee Roasters.
“When we order they roast it the day of the order, so it’s always really fresh and you can taste it in the coffee,” said Abdullah.
But aside from freshly made treats and delicious coffee, Abdullah hopes to bring a welcome space for all residents in the community to feel comfortable in and enjoy themselves.
“I just want to bring a place where people feel comfortable to come hang out with their families, whether it’s moms with their kids or young adults,” she said. “I want to make it a home away from home and that’s the goal.”