The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Parkside Coffee House Deserves Another Look

In the past couple years local "upscale" Lincol Road coffee joints K-Dog and Blue Roost have shuttered, succumbing, perhaps, to unmet expectations from customers, investors, owners and landlords. All along, the Dark Horse of Dark Roast has kept a-brewing, and after a recent conversation with the owner, the Q is convinced that the neighborhood may have missed its own diamond in the rough.

Until quite recently, one could have been forgiven for missing the discreet charm of the Internet Coffee House. Owner Abdo Zandanny has tried many aesthetic and business models since opening on Parkside Avenue kitty-korner from the Q train in 2008. Abdo (pronounced Ab-doo) is Yemen-born, but he's lived and worked in the neighborhood for 30 years, and before that graduated from schools 305 and 252 right here in the County of Kings back in the '70s. He's trained as a computer programmer and technician, and used to own a tech-based shop next to the McDonalds on the same block. When the current spot at 216 Parkside became available, he took a risk and opened a business that he felt the neighborhood sorely needed - a full-service coffee joint where one could rent time on a desktop and print out documents. Abdo brought with him his excellent skills in computer repair (both Apple and PC products) and has continued to try to draw attention to his top-notch inexpensive expertise. (Many a mac-loving patron was told by Tekserve to just go buy a new computer; Abdo thinks, or rather KNOWS, that this is usually not the case. Give him a shot before trashing your $2,000 investment).

This blogger noted herein that Abdo sort of "jumped the shark" when he plastered his windows with signs and specials and started serving everything from smoothies to frozen yogurt. But at its heart, the joint always sold a tremendous selection of organic teas, became the only place around to sell decent bagels (Le Bagel Delight, no less) and more recently began selling a surprisingly satisfying cup of joe - an Arabica that beats the hell out of Dunkin' Donuts. (Arabica is native to the mountains of Yemen, by the way, coming originally from the Arabian Peninsula).

But just a couple weeks ago he took the advice of his loyal customers and took down all the signs, replacing the dirty plexiglass with clear windows. It's already made the place more inviting. The FREE wireless is a plus, and while the Portlandia crowd may see the four desktop computers as unsightly dinosaurs, the reality is that many people in this neighborhood NEED an inexpensive workstation from time to time. If you haven't much dough and need to print out a resume or email something or find out information that only resides on the internet, how else you gonna manage? Perhaps the wires could be hidden. The chairs could use an update. And the unused space off to the left seems cluttered and unsure of itself. But the staff is capable, though not of the typical post-college musician/actor variety, and the variety of offerings is charming. It's clean if cluttered, and you really can get a decent cup of coffee and bagel on the go, or sit down in the raised window space and watch the comings-and-goings of your neighbors from your lofty perch.

AND, get this. For a limited time, Abdo is offering a FREE cup of coffee if you mention theQatParkside. That's right. No obligations. Just mention us and get a free small coffee. The milk and half-and-half are in the fridge on the left. The Q has no financial stake here...just the desire to see a hard-working neighborhood-loving shopkeep have a chance to win your business, and maybe your heart as well.

And don't forget that computer repair. His biz is word-of-mouth, so if you've experienced his handiwork personally, please give him a thumbs-up or down right here. And guess what? When he saves up a bit of dough he's going to change his sign and name. To "Wired." Like how you get when you drink too much Arabica Joe. Nice move. And he might replace the news-yelping TV with some music. Things are looking up, and don't be afraid to drop a suggestion here. I'll be happy to relay the message.

Best of luck to you, sir.


Anonymous said...

I didn't even notice this place until they cleared out the windows...and now I'm in there almost every day! So glad to have them in the neighborhood.

M on Martense said...

Kudos to him! I wish more merchants along Flatbush and Parkside would make these types of easy and not-that-expensive changes, which can make such a huge difference!

Anonymous said...

Just went for the first time this morning, post-storm. Enjoyed a delicious bagel and a mediocre cup of coffee while watching storm coverage on their nice flatscreen. The service was pretty slow and there was a crazy man shouting about how a blizzard was coming. But it is what it is. I don't have strong feelings either way.

ElizabethC said...

Bagels yes, coffee meh; the hot chocolate actually comes from an envelope (horrors)! but I have used their copier there one anywhere else?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Beg to differ on the coffee...since he changed roasts I'm a fan, but to each his own. I know the standards have increased ten-fold since I started drinking the stuff 25 years ago...

ElizabethC said...

hmm. I last tried it a while ago....maybe I'll give it another shot :)

Anonymous said...

Had my eye on this place for a while, and since I'm tired of trekking down to Cortelyou's Cafe Madeline, thought I'd give it a try. The Q is right on -- it's clean, neat, has great iced tea options (blueberry!), and is reasonably priced. The window space is lovely, but the tv needs to be turned down. And more baked good options! Counter staff was friendly and functional. And it looks like they're trying to promote some local artists inside. Keep up the good work Wired!