LONG ISLAND CITY — Neighborhood cafe Communitea is making a comeback Tuesday, reopening in a new storefront nearly a year after it closed its original location on Vernon Boulevard, its owner said.
The tea and coffee shop will open its doors at a new, larger space at 11-18 46th Rd. near 11th Street, which owner Kafia Saxe said will be similar to its previous location, though she also plans to soon add wine and beer to the menu as well as new dinner items.
"We wanted to be back for our regular customers," said Saxe, who said they were intent on reopening in Long Island City after the lease on their original location, at Vernon Boulevard and 47th Avenue, ended last October. Communitea had been in the neighborhood for almost a decade, she said.
"We looked in Court Square, we looked up and down Vernon, we looked in Queens Plaza," she said of the search for a new space. "This really fit the best with our aesthetics and our general location for our customers."
The new Communitea will continue to serve Irving Farm Coffee, as well as its medley of pastries, desserts, salads and sandwiches, as it did previously. Its menu will once again be written on the walls of the eatery in chalk, and will continue to include its popular "fancypants grilled cheese," which changes daily.
The new space will include an expanded menu of loose-leaf teas, as well as more gluten-free and vegan food options, according to Saxe.
"We're going to really focus on...Long Island City and Queens-made baked goods," she said, saying they use local purveyors like Amy's Bread and Tom Cat Bakery, in addition to the items they make in-house.
"If we can't get it in Long Island City then we'll look in Queens, if we can't get it in Queens then we'll look beyond, but we really want to keep everything very local," she said.
They plan to eventually start serving wine, beer, cider and kombucha once their liquor license is approved, which is when they also plan to add an additional menu with "heavier" dinner items.
The owners are also hoping to gain approval from the local Community Board in order to use a backyard patio at the new space, Saxe said.
The formerly cash-only cafe will now be accepting credit cards, and Saxe said they're also starting to selling some retail items made by local artists, like tie-dyed pillows and oven mitts from Vive Handmade.
The new Communitea will reopen Tuesday, and will be open seven days a week. Hours are still being finalized; following the cafe's Facebook page for updates.