Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Esparks Coffee

Yesterday I took a mini-tour of Astoria - 28th and 30th Avenues, plus a little of Steinway. Had a fantastic burger and awesome fries at Sunset Pizza (28th Ave and 46th Street), checked out Gian Piero Bakery (30th Ave in the mid-40s), where I had a lovely slice of Italian-style cheesecake. It was made from ricotta rather than cream cheese, and I liked how light it was. I'd defintely go back again, and I hear the carrot cake is awfully good, too.

I had heard about a new cafe (you all call them "coffee shops" here in the east) called Esparks, located on Steinway just north of 31st Avenue, so I checked it out as well. It's a very nice space with tasty coffee. It looks very much like a Starbucks, and the baristas there readily fess up to the comparison. It's a comfortable space and quite spacious. They have free wifi, which is cool. People are even beginning to post "missed connections" from there. There isn't any other place like it in the area, and I think it fills a real need. Below are some pictures.





18 comments:

Joseph said...

This cafe does fill an important void. IT HAS COUCHES AND CUSHY SEATS. I hate Starbucks in the USA because almost all of them have only hard chairs and the attitude is not inviting. Esparks is not interesting or amazing. It's basically Starbucks with couches, which alone makes me like it. The music and lighting is basically inviting. Its very calm and the staff are nice. But what Astoria needs is an Austin, Berkeley, Portland style coffee house. It would make a forune. If anyone out there has some money to invest.....

Philip said...

I completely agree. I just moved from Brooklyn, and don't get me wrong, but one of the things I sometimes miss about Brooklyn are the coffee shops you can find there. A lot of places feature excellent Fair Trade coffee, warm atmosphere, and plenty of character (and couches). I wish there were a place like that here in Astoria, because I really like it here, but I'd like it even more if we had that.

jack_deino said...

Tried Esparks on Saturday. I am bored of Starbucks. Unfortunately, I have to say I will sadly return to Starbucks. Staff was unfriendly, coffee drinks were of poor quality. Place is nothing orignial. Seems they went out of their way to imitate Starbucks in every way (except the quality). Wow, hopefully we will soon have an alternative to Starbucks here in Astoria - but unfortunately - this is not it in our ( my wife and I) opinion.

Brian said...

If you're in the upper Ditmars area, try the Freeze Peach or the Waltz Astoria. Both are places with cushy seats (the FP moreso) and nice ambiance. They're definitely better than your typical Starbucks.

I may still check this place out, if only for the free WiFi that anything else.

heynarrator said...

I actually liked Esparks Coffee and it's surprising because I disagree with some of the statements that were made. I found the staff to be friendly and everytime I went there (I always go at different times of the day), they were cleaning and smiling. I always get my drink really fast. I'm sick of Starbucks. Esparks is comfortable and cozy. I don't care much for the wifi because I liked their coffee. It's smooth and tasteful. I'd go back anytime. I'd prefer Esparks over Starbucks. The names are even similar but that's understandable only because the owner's last name is Park.

Jane Gavin said...

I just found your Astoria blog! I just wrote an entry about Esparks on my blog. I thought it weird that their coffee sizes were the same as Starbucks'. Did anyone else notice that? Other than that, I really liked the place.

I'm so glad I found this blog!

Jason said...

I think Esparks is much better than Starbucks if you know how coffee is made. Esparks actually foams and steams the milok for each and every drink, as opposed to Starbucks mass steaming craziness. It makes for nasty foam. Plus, if you find that your drink at Esparks is lacking that certain something, the staff will make it however you want. It's great. They're really nice!

John said...

I have to say that I definitely prefer Esparks over Starbucks. It's a bit cheaper, bigger, more comfy, staff is friendly, quality of all the coffees and the drinks I've tried are very high and it has free wifi.

Tania Debi said...

Esparks is totally friendly--I guess Jack caught them on a bad day. I am a freelance writer and I have switched from Starbucks to here. My pros in relation to Starbucks, which echo others':

- free Wifi! Starbucks' WiFi is expensive.
- Couches
- PLAIN SOYMILK. Starbucks uses only vanilla soymilk, which is packed with calories and is too sweet.
- Their coffee seems to be made better, not so bitter.

I'm a convert.

lisa said...

I went to Esparks on Sunday and I didn't particularly enjoyed it. Although the staff was friendly and they made their drinks quickly, it does not seem very original. I have seen Starbucks with couches and soft seats. Even though Esparks have an abundance of these and not hard, wooden seats, I did not like the drinks. I had ordered a vanilla iced latte and it much more than I expected. Esparks has nearly the same bottled drinks offered as well as sandwiches and yogurt&granola. In the end, I threw out the drink I had bought when it was barely half way done.

lisa said...

oops, typo. *it cost me more

Davron said...

Esparks rocks

Robert said...

Esparks: Nothing Original.

1. If you are going to place comfy chairs in your establishment expect people may close their eyes and relax for a few minutes with a hot tea and book. Don't complain that they are "sleeping." (Especially after just buying 3 such teas)

2. Always the same music. Never anything new. Stay long enough and you'll hear the same song 4 times over. And then again the next day.. and the next...

3. Unfriendly staff.

4. *NEVER* has Hot Apple Cider

5. Never has ICE!!! WTF?! How can you not have ICE?

6. It is a large soulless environment which, instead of trying to be something original, carbon copied starbucks badly. It is clear the owner has little to no imagination about creating a local community cafe.

7. Did they hire a 4 year old to write the menu? It is misspelled, misaligned and hard to read.

8. The drinks are nothing special. That's assuming they can even make what you are asking for. They are always "out" of many things.

9. The tables and furniture are falling apart and not maintained well.

10. The pastries and desserts are dry and nothing original.

11. What the hell is an Espark? Aside from trying to sound like "Starbuck."

12. Go a little further in Astoria to Freeze Peach Cafe off of ditmars and 29th. The owner will actually sit and chat with you, will bring you your drink, will give you 30 min of free internet and has a much more comfy and friendly atmosphere. And oh yes, actually has a clue as to how to run a cafe.

Seshie said...

Their coffee is free when you purchase their sandwich :). The only reason why I like Espark is becuase it's quiet and somewhat cozy. nothing big when it comes to food. I'm just glad one of them opened up in my neighborhood too (near jackson heights). I finally don't have to go out to Astoria for a cafe.. :)

John said...

i havent been to ESPARKS in astoria but i am a regular now in ESPARKS here in broadway Queens for the reason that starbucks is nto that accomodating... starbucks wifi is not free of charge... ESPARKS IS THE BEST... i haven't been into a coffee shop with free wifi... its not really with the wifi that i am here... it is the coffee itself... COFFEE as my middle name is now change to ESPARKS... the coffee in ESPARKS is exceptional... great customer service... i as a customer service representative i can say that i am very satisfied with the services they provided for... ESPARKS QUEENS STAFF ARE NOT JUST FRIENDS THEY ARE MY FAMILY...

Scraps said...

The Esparks in Astoria is closed now, I just walked by there (as of April 12, 2008). Anyone know what happened? Kind of disappointing to see them leave.

Josh said...

It's a great place to go, I need more time to visit it, the last time I went, was something gloriously, like when I bought thought this website called Generic Viagra was pretty nice and easy to repeat it.

boy labyog said...

Esparks Coffe is perfect place to relax and to take a break.



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