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Cancun Cafe: What’s in a name?

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Malaty, 45, has lived in Queens for 25 years after moving to the United States from Egypt in his early 20s. He began working in retail, but quickly became a small business owner when he opened Nick's TV, an electronics store. He now works in real estate development and owns a 99 cent store in Brooklyn and two eateries on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood-the Cancun Cafe, which opened in late October, and the Royal Pizza and Cafe, which he bought from the pizzeria's original owners. He kept the menu and ingredients intact.Malaty, who lives in Woodside, said his new cafe, which acts as a hookah bar, but also offers desserts, breakfast, coffee and soup, serves customers who come from all around the world. Some of his regulars are from Albania, China, Russia, Yugoslavia, Romania and Egypt. His staff is equally diverse- he has a waitress from Germany and employees from Ecuador, the United States, Puerto Rico, Poland and Yugoslavia. Artwork and pictures from France and Egypt adorn the walls.The age range of customers also covers a wide spectrum, Malaty said."We are not trying to target any specific kind of customer and we do not focus on any age," he said. "Hopefully, we can draw a lot of different types of customers."In the summer, Malaty said the cafe will emphasize its vast ice cream selection, hoping to bring families with children into the establishment. The cafe has already hosted birthday parties and even one engagement, Malaty said."This guy proposed to his girlfriend on one of the tables and I believe she said, 'yes,'" he said.Malaty said he chose to name the cafe, which is located at 55-21 Myrtle Ave., the Cancun Cafe because of the reputation of the Mexican resort."Cancun is a summer vacation place to have a good time, where you can stay away from the city," he said. "People have their honeymoons there or just go to get away from their jobs and relax."He said he hopes Queens and city residents will do the same at his cafe. One of the biggest draws is the large selection of hookah flavors, which Malaty said helps people relax. He said the cafe has 21 different hookah flavors, including licorice, orange, strawberry, jasmine, apricot and Saloum, an Egyptian flavor."Once you smell (the hookah), you feel you are in an orange garden- it takes you away from the regular activity of the city," he said.The cafe also features most flavors of coffee, a light meal for dinner and lunch and a wide range of desserts.Malaty said the cafe will begin expanding its services in upcoming months, including live music, belly dancing and an Internet cafe. He is also in the process of trying to obtain a liquor license and said he intends for the cafe to have a full bar. Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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