When owners Ben Sandler and Jennifer Lim conceived of The Queens Kickshaw in 2011, they originally saw it as a mobile coffee cart. But when they found their space on Broadway, function followed form, and the husband and wife team decided to create a gathering space with a grilled-cheese driven menu and extensive wine and beer program.
The Astoria Art Festival venue has plenty of wall space, but a very unique way of displaying art: local artists are given a long sheet of white paper and are invited to create. “I think when we first opened, it looked a little incomplete, but that was part of our esthetic. It was a year and a half later that we figured out the mechanics,” Lim says. A permanent frame holds the artwork, which changes every few months.
“We have a lot of people who use this as a workspace during the daytime, so they’re here many hours a day,” Lim explains. “I think it’s nice to have a visual break from what you’re working on, whether it’s your computer screen or your script. It’s good to look up and have someone else’s creativity in your face.”
In addition to hanging art and showcasing live music, Sandler and Lim see the Astoria Art Festival as another way to contribute to the art community in Astoria. “It’s something that brings us joy,” Lim says. “Our day-to-day is running a business, so it’s nice to indulge in other people’s passions and have the ability to nurture them.”
From the start, Sandler and Lim have envisioned The Queens Kickshaw as a place where people can gather and make use of the space. “I feel like this is the kind of place where it’s easy to come and do your work for hours with your coffee, a meal or a beer at the end of the day,” Lim says. “I hope it fosters creativity.”
The Queens Kickshaw