Food Spotting

Astoria’s Queen’s Room: An Homage to Leadership, Femininity, Beyoncé, and Booze

By / Photography By Megan Martin | April 06, 2018
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Antonia Joannides, owner of The Queen's Room in Astoria, Queens
The Queen’s Room’s lively owner Antonia Joannides behind the bar.

The wind whips against the windows as New York’s first big winter storm unleashes its fury on the quiet city outside. Yet it’s business as usual inside The Queen’s Room, packed with red-nosed, frosty-eared New Yorkers engaged in the uncomfortable ritual of sharing café tables. Two people still in layers sip Champagne by the window, despite that fact that it’s just after 11am on a Thursday. This is The Queen’s Room, a coffee shop/restaurant/bar in Astoria, the dreamy extended living room New Yorkers all fantasize about having on their corner.

Formerly known as 60 Beans, the establishment has been beloved by Astorians since it opened in August 2014. Helmed by the team behind Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee just a few minutes away, the cozy space quickly became a neighborhood hub. But despite aspirations to become a restaurant or bar, 60 Beans couldn’t shake its caffeinated identity. Enter Antonia Joannides, a Manhattan restaurant industry veteran of over a decade, who was ready to run the show.

The Queen's Room's Pear Salad arugula, blue cheese, roasted pecans, balsamic reduction
The Pear Salad with arugula, blue cheese, roasted pecans, and balsamic reduction.

She’d envisioned running a food and beverage establishment on the Upper East Side, but when friends of Joannides’ cousins told her the business below the apartment where her own mother, aunts and grandmother grew up after immigrating from Cyprus in the 1950s was up for grabs, she snatched the opportunity to become co-owner of 60 Beans (with her quiet business partner, Yiannis Vasilas) last spring. 

Joannides waited a few months before making any major changes to the “neighborhood staple.” Then, things got regal. Mid-August, Joannides replaced the industrial sign outside the door with a brass, all-caps cursive sign declaring the space: The Queen’s Room—an homage to leadership, femininity and Beyoncé. 

“I wanted to make this a place with some class and significance, while still being in Queens,” Joannides says. “And being a female business owner—I want to be a queen too!” 

Live Like a Queen cocktail at The Queen's Room in Astoria, Queens
The Queen's Room Astoria, Queens
Photo 1: Joannides's Live like a Queen cocktail.
Photo 2: Joannides decided to keep the original tin ceiling so regulars could hold on to the feel of the old space.

Inside, the marble bar top and matching tables complement gleaming banquettes and wooden barstools. A pastry case was removed to showcase the new roster of baked goods in glass cake stands, and yet small, beloved details endured, like the original tin ceiling, so as not to totally annihilate Astorians’ three-year fixation with the space. The new menu ranges from coffee to cocktails, from breakfast toasts to hot sandwiches, from happy hour finger foods to halloumi fries and pastas for dinner. 

“It’s New American with a Mediterranean twist,” Joannides says. Nearly everything is made in-house, with ingredients sourced from nearby K&T Meat Market and a few choice carbs from Rose & Joe’s Bakery.

The Queen's Room Astoria, Queens
The marble bar top and matching tables complement the gleaming banquettes and wooden barstools.

In the morning, Joannides makes sure everything is running smoothly; by lunchtime she’s pressing grilled cheeses and assembling grain bowls and by 5pm she’s shaking cocktails. 

“I knew it was going to be tough,” she laughs, but she’s learning a lot and has bonded with the small but supportive network of female business owners on Ditmars. “Breaking the mold of a male-dominated society and culture, especially in Astoria, rocking it out as a woman in the business world, has been great.” 

The Queen's Room Astoria, Queens
Antonia Joannides, owner of The Queen's Room in Astoria, Queens

The Queen's Room@queensroomnyc

Get the recipe for Joannides’ Live like a Queen Cocktail here.

Article from Edible Queens at http://ediblequeens.ediblecommunities.com/eat/astoria-s-queen-s-room-homage-leadership-femininity-beyonc-and-booze
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