Aug. 7, 2023 By Jessica Militello
When you walk into Pancakes Records, the vinyl records store can feel like more than just a shop. The walls are adorned by posters, old concert flyers and quirky décor that all have a special meaning to the store’s owners, Tanya Gorbunova and AJ Pacheco.
The shop, which had its grand opening at 20-77 Steinway St. on July 22, is a place that can become a route to nostalgia for some, and for others, a curious discovery for those who might not have ever perused a record store. Crates of records in their original plastic wrapping and gently used records looking for a new home line the store waiting to be explored.
Gorbunova and Pacheco hope for the shop to be like a second home, not just a place to buy and sell vinyl records for the community.
“Some people will just walk in and it feels like they’re being hit in the face of history,” said Gorbunova. “And that’s where you get a lot of people that will open up to us and tell us about what music they listen to or their past.”
Gorbunova and Pacheco have been Astoria residents for more than a decade and already have a bit of a following in the Astoria community from Hi-Fi Records, a vinyl record store and coffee shop that was open for eight years on 23-19 Steinway St.
According to Pacheco, he helped to open the store with owner Javi Velazquez and became general manager of the shop. In January 2023, Velazquez decided to move back to Puerto Rico, and to the dismay of the shops many loyal customers, the store closed its doors. Gorbunova also worked at Hi-Fi for many years in addition to as well as being a musician and teaching culinary arts, and Hi-Fi became a second home for her. Now, the co-owners and couple of 10 years have been able to start a new chapter with the opening of Pancakes Records.
“I feel like we’ve been around forever because we’ve had this relationship with our community,” said Gorbunova. “A lot of the people that came out on the first day were people that we’ve known for years that were coming into Hi-Fi and we did only two pop ups for the [new] space, and it was already our regulars coming back-we feel really lucky.”
The shop buys, sells and trades vinyl records of pretty much every music genre from past to present. They both own a large collection of new and old records in addition to what’s being sold at the store, and Pacheco mentioned that all the music they’re selling is completely different from anything they offered previously at Hi-Fi. Just from perusing the shop, they have records from everything from Jay-Z to The Doors, Janelle Monae, Guns N Roses, Taylor Swift and much more.
“There is not a decade that isn’t represented in the store,” said Pacheco. “We try to carry a little bit of everything because we like everything. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to open this store, to get some of [our own collection] out and make room for more.”
They also have a space toward the back of the store for live music, but so far, they’re still figuring out the frequency of when that will take place, whether it be once a month, or semi-monthly.
“We know that we wanted this to be more of a community space,” said Pacheco. “We built Pancakes with the idea in mind that we’d have live music in the back and there’s also a lot of different artwork from a bunch of different local artists that are displayed on the walls.”
Pancakes Records is located at 20-77 Steinway St. and is open from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Tuesday.
For more information, call 718-233-8666 or check out the store’s Instagram page.