969 NYC Coffee – Jackson Heights, Queens – October 15, 2016
969 NYC Coffee is one of the newest additions to the burgeoning Jackson Heights food scene. This is not your standard coffee shop though. This is a Japanese coffee shop. 969 NYC Coffee not only sells coffee, but matcha (pronounced mah-cha, Japanese style green tea), miso soup (pronounced mee-soh, a soup made with miso paste, which is made from fermented soy), and onigiri (pronounced oh-nee-jee-ree). Onigiri,
“…is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or cylinder shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (a type of plum), salted salmon, katsuobushi (dried, fermented, smoked tuna), kombu (kelp), tarako (salted fish roe), or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative.”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onigiri, 2016)
This new twist on the standard coffee shop is a great addition to this neighborhood. So, on a bright Saturday my husband and I ventured there to have some onigiri for lunch.
We split three onigiri: chicken, pork, and shrimp tempura (battered and deep fried). None of the three had nori (seaweed) wrapping. The white rice was glutenous and just chewy enough to bring a bit of texture to each dish. Unfortunately, the shrimp tempura was soggy, and I found it to be lacking in flavor. On the other hand, the other two onigiri were quite good. The pork was both sweet and slightly sour. The chicken was my favorite. It tasted like a delicious, creamy chicken salad wrapped in rice. It was wonderfully savory.
I hope 969 NYC Coffee does well because it brings something different to the food scene. That being said there are some accessibility issues to be aware of before you visit.
Accessibility Rating for 969 NYC Coffee
I used my wheelchair to visit 969 NYC Coffee.
- Entryway – 3: There is a steep ramp leading up to the outdoor patio and the main entrance. While the ramp is wide, long, and stable, it felt very steep to me. My husband had to stand behind my wheelchair to make sure it would not tip backwards upon our arrival, and he had to stabilize it upon our leaving so my wheelchair would not slide down the ramp. While I appreciate the fact that there is a ramp, the angle of the ramp is concerning, and it could possibly indicate that whoever built it does not fully understand the ADA regulations for ramp construction. I could be mistaken here, but this could be the case. The transition from the patio into the shop’s interior is smooth. There are no stairs.
- Bathroom: There is no bathroom available for customers.
- Walkways/Space – 4: The dimly lit space has both low and high tables around an open central area. The counter and refrigerator case are in the shop’s rear. There are benches and stools at which customers can sit. I was able to fit underneath the central pedestal table with my footrests raised up. There was moderately loud music playing at the time we visited.
Video Description: Video shows tables with chairs on the left side, counter with refrigerated food case in front, and bench with stools on the right. Some customers are at the counter ordering.
- Staff – 1: Even though I was with my husband, the one staff member who was working did not make any offer of help to me. It seems to me that this happens often when I am with my husband or a friend. The staff do not make any offer of help because they may be thinking that I may not need or want it since I am with someone. But, even if I do not require help, I always appreciate the gesture, and it demonstrates that the staff willing to help members of the disability community.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.