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Soul food meets cyber lounge in Queens Village

Thirst Quencher Cyber Cafe

216-18 Jamaica Ave.

Queens Village

740-6678

There aren’t too many cyber cafes about. And there certainly aren’t many soul food cyber cafes. Thirst Quencher’s in Queens Village may be the first. Dalia, a former social worker who does the cooking for dinner diners using Grandma’s recipes, got hooked on the idea in Manhattan, and further research when visiting California, confirmed it. Now she runs Thirst Quencher and her daughter Michelle get up at 2:30 a.m. to be the breakfast cook every day. Daughter Ebony is a waitress along with very tall niece, Nancy. Her son Michael helps out, too.

Thirst Quencher Cyber Cafe, now open a year and a half, has seating for 60 arranged along two walls of a super-long dining room. Black leather chairs are interspersed along one wall with three computers in between. (An applicant was using one for her resume as I ate.) Two black sofas and a coffee table create a little foyer at the entrance. There are white tile floors throughout, light plum table cloths and soft gray walls. The “bar” is mod and black with a handsome TV screen strategically placed for viewing. Jaunty pink plumes in painted vases are at each table. The look is delightfully fresh.

Locals can start the day with a breakfast featuring the incredible egg. (Michael makes every conceivable omelet including those with egg whites.) Yes, there are grits(white), salmon cakes, porgies and corned beef hash on the menu.

Lunch features salads, sandwiches (rib, turkey or ham), hot wings and burgers (turkey, veggie or beef). Have a passion fruit quencher, a special kiwi concoction or a yogurt peach smoothie.

Come dinner, Thirst Quencher’s garden delight makes a great first course. It’s served in an individual bowl with lettuce on the bottom totally hidden by an array of tiny fresh, broccoli florettes, halved cucumber slices and diced tomato. My dressing choice was Dijon honey mustard, one of Grandma’s recipes and was it good!

If you’re an appetizer-must person, the delightful croaker sandwich I had for lunch would work well as a starter — a deep fried croaker, open faced, on wheat bread with a simple tartar sauce. (Very splitable.) Salmon cakes or those hot wings would work well as appetizers, too.

For entrees, let me run down the ones we’ve sampled. Georgia style (Dalia is from Atlanta and North Carolina) barbecued ribs. Baby backs are boiled first, dried, then baked with a thin, sundried tomato and paprika sauce. There’s nothing browned or charred or fat about these ribs which makes them uniquely different. (The ribs are also served as a sandwich.) With the ribs, I had collards bright

and green.

The roast chicken (actually baked) has a cornbread stuffing with a hint of powdered thyme and a light, luscious gravy served on the side with sweet potatoes and collards cooked beyond the light green stage. Turkey wings (the upper meaty section) had sides of yellow rice and green beans. The green beans are stir fried with thyme, marjoram and oregano, and spiked with a bit of nutmeg. Beef stew, with carrots and potatoes in a brown gravy is usually served with yellow rice.

Dessert here is old fashioned layer cake, homemade, the kind you never see any more — two layers, frosted. Period. Dalia rotates between chocolate, vanilla (my dessert), lemon and pineapple coconut. When pineapple coconut is on the menu and the word gets out, regulars are sure to hurry over. Jell-o is red, fruity tasting with a hint of cinnamon and has just the right quiver.

Coffee is featured at Thirst Quencher’s: Brazil Santos, Colombian, organic Mexican, Papua New Guinea, Ethiopian Yoirgacheffe, Jamaican Blue Mountain. French roast was the coffee at my first visit, Colombian the next.

Sunday is the big day at the Cyber Cafe. Breakfast is served from 10:30 a.m. At 2:30 p.m. the dinner buffet begins. There’s even a separate room beside the kitchen for the display and it’s only $9.99 with all the sides and desserts. As for takeout, it comes in a rectangular tray with a corn muffin, Thirst Quencher’s featured bread, naturally. These takeouts packed in a black sack are chic to transport to a picnic, ball game or whatever, thirst Quencher’s closes at seven-thirty and at two on Tuesday. Takeout is the way to go then.

Service at Thirst Quenchers Cyber Cafe is all smiles. The three who served on two visits never stopped. It’s an upbeat thing.

The Bottom Line

Soul food in a colorful high tech setting. Service with a smile. Grits and down South favorites at breakfast. Barbecue rib (Georgia style) sandwiches for lunch, then dinner til 7 p.m. Sunday breakfast and dinner buffet.

Chef’s Choices

Roast chicken (roasted covered with corn bread and herb stuffing and chicken gravy)...$9.99

Barbecue ribs (Georgia style)...$9.99

Chili with yellow rice (3 different beans, sun dried tomatoes and Cajun spices)...$4.99

Macaroni and cheese (3 different cheeses)...$3.50

Pan-fried fish (special spices in batter)...$8.99

Honey turkey sandwich (with Dijon honey mustard dressing on Kaiser Roll)...$4.25

Pan-fried fish sandwich (open face)...$3.50

Pineapple coconut layer cake...$3.50

Cuisine: Soul food

Setting: Attractive cyber cafe

Service: All smiles

Hours: Breakfast, lunch & dinner 6 days. (Close 7 p.m. & Tues 2 p.m.). Sunday: Bkft 10 a.m. Dinner buffet 2:30 p.m.

Reservations: Yes

Parking; Municipal lot by LIRR station

Location: Four blocks W of Cross Island Pkwy.

Dress: Neat casual

Credit cards: Cash only

Private parties: To 60

Takeout: Yes

Off-premise catering: Yes

Children: Will accommodate

Smoking: None

Noise level: Fri & Sat night, low

Handicap access: Yes

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