May 16, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A coffee shop that closed earlier this year is reopening under new ownership — and with a slightly different twist.
The new establishment, called Concept Coffee, will open Thursday at 44-61 11th St. in a space previously occupied by The Mill.
Concept Coffee will offer a range of coffees, teas and specialty drinks like mocktails. The store will also serve an array of lite bites including paninis and pastries.
The new establishment will also function as a gathering place for local real estate agent Kayla Lee to meet her clients.
Lee, the co-owner of Concept Coffee, works for the Manhattan-based real estate firm Serhant, and she leads a team of five agents in the Long Island City and Astoria marketplace.
The establishment is designed like a regular coffee shop although there will be big flat-screen TV on a wall—with a gold frame—that will display Lee’s real estate listings. There will also be an iPad near the screen where customers can schedule an appointment with Lee or her team.
Lee said she decided to open Concept Coffee while on the lookout to acquire a space for her team to meet potential buyers.
She also wanted to see a coffee shop reopen at the 11th Street space since she frequented The Mill for years.
“I’m very entrepreneurial in spirit and when this opportunity came along I decided to combine both concepts…,” said Lee, who also co-owns Art of the Barber, a barbershop located at 27-19 44th Dr.
Lee and her team of agents will use Concept Coffee as a base for meeting clients during the day.
The establishment is around 650 square feet in size and seats approximately 12 people inside, she said.
After hours, Lee will use the space to host real estate seminars, community workshops on homeownership and other networking events with clients.
For the cafe venture, Lee is partnering with Shaun Moamem, a hospitality industry professional, and Andrew Marquez, a master barista who lives in Long Island City.
The cafe will include a neon sign on a wall that will read “time to grind,” which Lee says has a double meaning. “Time to grind” relates to grinding coffee beans and is also a term in the real estate industry for hustle.
The owners will be painting a mural on the exterior wall on the 44th Drive side of the building in the coming weeks. They are also looking to open sidewalk seating.
Lee said she is very familiar with the area through her real estate work and having lived in Long Island City for a decade. She currently lives in Westchester.
The space, she said, is close to several big condo buildings and she hopes to tap into the area’s high foot traffic.
“It’s also a block from Murray Park and we really want to offer lite bite food items for families playing at the park,” Lee said.
Concept Coffee will offer pastries including croissants and scones as well as freshly pressed paninis. There will also be donuts from Brooklyn based-donut maker Brandon’s Donuts, Lee said.
Lee said Concept Coffee will offer hot and cold coffees including iced Cortada, iced matcha as well as hot chocolate and lemonade. There will also be a range of teas as well as half a dozen different mocktails.
“We’re really excited to be opening,” Lee said. “We think it’s going to be a place where the neighborhood is going to come together.”