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Beloved Long Island City coffee shop Communitea Café closes after 18-year-run


Long Island City staple Communitea Café will close on Wednesday, May 3 (Photo: Google Maps)

May 3, 2023 By Michael Dorgan

Communitea Café, an establishment that has been part of the fabric of Hunters Point for the past 18 years, will close on Wednesday, May 3.

Kafia Saxe and Lloyd Canning, the husband-and-wife duo who own the 11-18 46th Road location, announced the closing via a post to the business’ Instagram page Tuesday.

The venue was known for its coffee, dozens of tea options and beer from local breweries. Communitea Café also offered salads, wraps, paninis, croissants and scones.

Its large indoor dining area and an outdoor patio to the rear made it a local favorite and popular spot for events and special occasions. The couple first opened Communitea Café on the corner of Vernon Boulevard and 47th Avenue before moving to its current location a decade later.

“After 18 years, two locations and more green bobs and breakfast burritos than we can count, the time has come for us to hang up our aprons,” the post reads. “It has been an honor to serve our blossoming community of Hunters Point in Long Island City as well as the ever-changing masses of Queens and NYC!”

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A post shared by Communitea Cafe (@communitealic)

The social media post did not state why the couple decided to close. The Queens/LIC Post was unable to reach the pair for comment.

According to the Instagram post, another family-owned coffee business will take over the space. It is unclear what the family’s plans are for the establishment and if it will retain its current name.

Saxe and Canning took over the space on 46th Road in 2015 and converted it from a luncheonette into a café. The establishment has a distinctive black and white checkered floor, an antique postal telegraph clock and a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard behind the counter on which the menu is written. It can seat about 40 inside and a little over 20 on the patio.

The venue was a location for TLC’s reality TV series “I Am Jazz,” which follows the life of Jazz Jennings, who identifies as transgender. The café’s previous venue was featured in the 2008 romantic comedy film “Baby Mama” and the series “Gossip Girl” as Vanessa’s Café, among other shows.

An image of the inside of the Café (Photo via Facebook)

Communitea Café heavily emphasized its teas and curated a list of over 60 loose-leaf teas, according to its website. It also offered a wide range of chai teas as well as seasonal drinks.

The café was known for its comfort food, such as mac n’ cheese, vegan burgers, grilled cheeses, and desserts, including double-fudge brownies and chocolate chunk cookies.

It has a 4.5-star rating out of a possible 5 on Google from nearly 370 reviews.

The announcement that Communitea Café is closing triggered an outpouring of support and memories from residents.

“Kafia, you and Lloyd have built a business that was (and will remain) a true pillar of the LIC community,” wrote Matthew Wynter. “Thank you so much for such great memories and even better food!”

“Good food, good drink, good people in a comfortable environment with art on the walls,” wrote Maria Spector. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my time… wishing you much success and happiness in the future.”

Meanwhile, the QPD, a local dentist, wrote: “Oh nooooo! ? Thank you for the community you helped cultivate, thank you for all the caffeine and calories (worth it!)… wishing you much more joy and success in your feature endeavors and life.”

A grilled cheese panini (L) and a Filipino-inspired Buddha bowl on the menu at Communitea Café (Photos via Instagram)


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