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Ohioans Hope to Bring Midwestern Hospitality to Astoria Coffee Shop

Dennis Lee and Liz Wick haven’t yet signed a lease for a brick-and-mortar space or even a trailer in their new home, Queens, N.Y., but that hasn’t kept the Ohio natives from serving coffee.

ohio couple plans to open astoria coffee shop

Dennis Lee working with beans from Cafe Brioso in Columbus, Ohio

As they continue their search for the right space, the couple has launched a website, as well as a coffee service, hand-delivering small samples of whole bean coffee to potential future customers in their target neighborhood in Astoria. The idea is simply to start to get to know their customers, says 29-year-old Lee.

“Being from the Midwest, we had a certain idea of what a coffee shop is, and noticed that it was difficult to find in New York, especially around our neighborhood,” Lee, a former guitar maker, told Daily Coffee News. “In our minds, a coffee shop is a community touchstone that should first be comfortable and welcoming. Our focus is on providing a positive customer experience and a personal touch. For example, this means asking ‘how are you?’ to customers before ‘what can I get you?’ and having a sincere desire to get to know people.”

Lee and Wick hope to sign a lease for Astoria Coffee sometime this summer, and hope to offer a simple program of coffees and teas based on quality.

“The core of our coffee program will be hand-brewed coffee and espresso-focused milk drinks,” says Lee. “This means for example means lower milk to espresso ratios and proper textures, and an emphasis on the espresso. That said, we will use high-quality milk from a dairy farm upstate.”

Lee and Wick plan to get their coffee from Jeff Davis at Cafe Brioso in Columbus, Ohio, who Lee says “provides us with great single-origins and over 15 years of experience in both roasting and the cafe business.”

For more on Lee and Wick’s progress, visit the Astoria Coffee website.