This was long before Site or Sparrow or the Queens Kickshaw or Astoria Bier & Cheese. It was also before COFFEED, a hyperlocal java joint and bakery in the heart of Northern Boulevard's car dealership district. How local? It roasts its beans on site, and come summer its food will incorporate produce grown on the roof. That's right: it's on the ground floor of the building that houses Brooklyn Grange, the rooftop farm whose concept I love but whose name irritates me (you're in Queens, yo! Show this borough some love).
COFFEED is mostly, of course, about the coffee. Dr. Science and I both ordered decafs (hey, it was after noon) — mine iced, his hot. Since I'm a philistine when it comes to joe — I'm perfectly happy with Dunkin' Donuts — I'll defer to my coffee-hound husband, who deemed it "good." We picked two sandwiches from the small menu: a grilled Swiss with tomato and a cheddar and avocado, both on seven grain. The Swiss was the clear winner, but the cheddar, served with layers of guacamole, romaine, and sliced cucumbers, was nice enough. The sandwiches came with tortilla chips, a bowl of tasty salsa, and pickles.
For dessert we shared two excellent house-baked cookies, one chocolate chip and the other oatmeal raisin.
The food is fine, but the atmosphere is the real draw. A huge, curved bar wrapped in burlap coffee sacks dominates the industrial-chic space. I'm a sucker for menus written on chalkboards, and COFFEED's got several. The ceilings are high and the glass storefront lets you watch the traffic flow silently by. If coffee isn't your thing, they also serve wine, fancy sodas, and Astoria-brewed SingleCut (again, local!) beer on tap. A minor quibble: a place this cool should have a better soundtrack than the Greatest Hits of the 1960s.
The whole meal set us back $20.20, plus the two dollar bills we stuffed into the tip jar on the counter. COFFEED says it gives a portion of its proceeds to local charities, and all those coffee grounds? They're turned into compost upstairs at Brooklyn Grange. To top it off, the staff is amiable and the free wifi has a very cheerful password.
So, yes, COFFEED is yet another local business helping to make Astoria hip. I hope Dr. Science can make peace with it. Otherwise we'll have to move to Staten Island.
37-18 Northern Blvd.