For our new Community series, we’re asking our coffee shop partners to answer our Official Odeko Partner Questionnaire, to help everyone get to know these delightful folks and their shops. We heart our partners, and we think you will, too.

Up today is The Barn Coffee Shop, right by Astoria Park in Queens. Co-owners Erick Gonzalez and Maria Ramos made the extraordinary decision to open up their shop in mid-July, right in the middle of a pandemic. The couple knew that opportunity seldom knocks at the perfect time, and when the space became available, they knew they had to dive right in.

The Barn is truly a labor of love. While Erick is a chef of 15 years with lots of experience with fine cuisine and farm-to-table, and Maria has a degree from the Art Institute of NYC for Restaurant Management and Culinary Management, they’re both still working other non-coffee related jobs as the shop finds its feet and are pulling parental duty for their 8-year-old son. “We are busy, busy bees!” Maria says.

Even with a pandemic raging, though, they’ve managed to build a loyal clientele that appreciates the spot all the more because of the relative dearth of cozy, independent coffee shops in their little corner of Astoria.

Why did you decide to open up your shop?

We have always wanted to open a coffee shop or a restaurant. We always shared a passion for good food and great service but hadn’t had the chance to do our own thing.

To be honest, because of life, we had stepped away from this idea, but the pandemic gave us the opportunity to sit back and come back to the things we always liked. The opportunity fell upon us and we ran as fast as we could with it.  

What makes your shop special?

Our passion in providing our guests with great coffee and top quality farm-to-table food. With all our experience in the field, we did not want to be just a standard, cookie-cutter shop. We wanted to make it special in culinary terms and also we wanted to create a space within the community where people feel comfortable and home.  

During times of power outages we have helped our neighbors with power to recharge their electronics. We have partnered up with local yogis to help support their endeavours. We make it our business to try to remember how you like your coffee every day and where it is more than just a simple business transaction.

What’s your staff’s super power?

Their super power is the drive they have to have happy customers. Our wonderful baristas are delighted to meet you with a smile (I swear they are smiling under that mask), and they put strong effort into you feeling comfortable and like you are home getting something you want. Our kitchen puts a lot of effort into giving you a culinary experience, something unexpected at times for a cozy coffee shop.

What do you love about your customers?  

We love our community! Opening during a global pandemic was a great risk we decided to take. Our community has been so supportive during these tumultuous times. We have many locals who just want to step out from working in front of their computers and delight us with their presence everyday. We have our water bowl for the many dogs that pass us by every day to and from the dog park down the block from us.

Our shop is kind of hidden, and many people did not even notice that we are around, but through social media and people posting about us we have thankfully created our little group of regulars and every day we have new people stop by.

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