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Popular Kew Gardens Coffee Shop Closes After 4 Years

 Jacob Ganz, the owner of Odradeks.
Jacob Ganz, the owner of Odradeks.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — A popular Kew Gardens coffee shop with artistic aspirations, which has become a stage for the neighborhood arts scene, is closing next week after 4 years in business, the owner said.

Ever since Odradeks, named for a creature from a short story by Franz Kafka, opened in 2012 at 82-60 Austin St., just next to the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road station, it has served as a popular hangout not only among coffee lovers, but also local writers, artists and musicians, who got to organize numerous reading series, art exhibits and live concerts there.

But owner Jacob Ganz, 40, said that despite its popularity, Odradeks was far from a lucrative business.

“As a coffee shop in the neighborhood where people like to come, there is good drinks and people like to hang out it was very successful,” Ganz said Thursday. “But from the business perspective it was not profitable enough to continue.”

Ganz said that except for the morning rush hour period, when people flock to the nearby train station, there was never enough “foot traffic” in the area. 

Kew Gardens is also notorious for its lack of parking, which did not help his business, Ganz said. “It could never be a destination for people … because you are not going to look for parking for 10 minutes to buy a cup of coffee.”

Locals said they were devastated by the news.

“It was a great coffee shop, it was a great place to perform and all the performers loved it,” said Aaron Adler, 87, who played there numerous times with his group, the Kew Gardens Musicians. “It was the closeness and the ‘onlyness’ of it that made it so special.”

(DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska)

Some said that Odradeks' closing made them worried about other businesses in the neighborhood.

“Everyone was welcome to come in and it was the only place in the neighborhood that everybody from all different backgrounds could gather,” said Carol Lacks, a Kew Gardens resident and activist. “I thought that Jake really figured out the formula how to bring people together in Kew Gardens, so it worries me that a place like this is closing.”

"For rent" signs have been placed in Odradeks’ windows since April, but back then Ganz said he was still considering various options.

On Thursday he said he made up his mind. 

The other Odradeks location in Midwood, Brooklyn, which opened in 2014, closed several months ago, he said.

Ganz, who also writes fiction and poetry, said he will now try to pursue his writing career.

He also said that another coffee shop is going to replace Odradeks in the future but he did not know further details.

Odradeks’ last day will be July 28.