Ridgewood coffee shop owners to open second business with beer and wine license

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz
THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Norma's coffee shop has been around for almost two years and now the owners want to open up a wine and beer bar.


Coffee isn’t the only buzzworthy drink the owners of Norma’s café want to offer their customers.

Crystal Williams and Denise Plowman, owners of the Ridgewood coffee shop, have been trying to get a beer and wine license for several months now. But due to Department of Building restrictions and Norma’s small size, they weren’t approved.

But instead of merely accepting the rejection, they are creating a new business entity that they hope will increase their chances for approval.

Even though the license has yet to be voted on, Williams and Plowman have rented out space on Woodward Avenue for their new venture, to be called Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar.

“So it’s a bit of a risk but this was a labor of love,” Williams said. “The neighborhood has been very supportive.”

Williams and Plowman submitted their plans to Community Board 5 and it is expected to be voted upon soon. If approved in that advisory vote, there will still be an “incredible amount of unromantic paperwork” that has to be done before the State Liquor Authority can grant the bar a beer and wine license, Williams said.

There is also a Kickstarter campaign for Julia’s, where Williams writes, “We feel like Ridgewood is missing a great beer and wine bar. We want to create the perfect date spot or a place to spend time with friends and feel spoiled. Our goal is to pick all of our favorite things about wine bars and leave out all the stuffy pretense.”

Taylor Clasper was working at Norma’s on a recent morning and told her co-worker Rin Wilhelmi, “I really want to work at the other place.”

Wilhelmi also wanted to work at Julia’s because she thought the tips would be good and “who wouldn’t want to work at a place that serves drinks?”

Facing the morning rush of people, Clasper considered all of the challenges facing the new business. She shrugged and said, “We’re the coffee shop that could.”