A new Astoria coffee shop is looking to be the neighborhood spot and unofficial art gallery where people from all walks of life can get together.
Dina Kowalczyk and Christina Canon, a mother and daughter duo, are the owners behind the new shop, Locus, located at 23-14 Ditmars Blvd.
Having worked in the restaurant industry for years, including a stint as owners of a coffee shop business in California, Kowalcyzk and Canon decided they wanted to open a new shop after making the move to Astoria a few years ago.
However, Canon said that having noticed she was often treated oddly because of her tattoos and hair, she wanted to make sure her business was friendly to all — employees and customers.
“I want to be able to say that anybody is welcome here,” Canon said. “Setting a different idea of a store owner. It’s your attitude that determines your success no matter what you look like.”
One of the main goals behind the new shop is to make a connection with customers and provide a cozy and inviting environment, Canon said. While enjoying their treats, visitors can play with complimentary board games, crossword puzzles or books found on shelves at the shop. There is also free Wi-Fi.
“People can come and relax,” she added. “That’s the California style.”
The shop’s menu includes coffees, teas, savory and sweet crepes made from scratch, and other baked goods.
Along with a menu full of treats, starting in March, Locus will begin showcasing artists’ works every month. The plan is to have one artist, presenting any form of art, each month. The last weekend of every month there will be an exhibition where guests will be able to purchase art pieces and interact with the artists.
“I want people to depict different forms of beauty in my shop,” Canon said. “I was always the weird one and I wanted to embrace people that really stand out from the norm.”
The shop had a soft opening on Jan. 2, and Canon said they have since been checking out how the community is responding to Locus and have only received positive feedback.
Locus will hold a grand opening on Valentine’s Day with a special event from 5 to 11 p.m. There will be specialty crepes on the menu on Feb. 14, and beer and wine will be on sale. All dine-in guests will also receive complimentary fondue.
Locus is open Tuesday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The shop will be closed Mondays until the weather gets warmer. For more information visit www.locuscafe.com.