To the delight of residents in the area, chef Sami Toujani and his partners have recently opened a delightful spot, Roast n Co at 100-12 Queens Boulevard, that emphasizes high-quality coffee and high-quality rotisserie chicken with a French/Mediterranean flair.
Wait, a shop that sells coffee and chicken? It may sound like an unusual combination, but Toujani explained that it’s tough for a new shop to generate enough business from selling coffee alone unless it’s a very well known brand.
Roast n Co's solution is to offer various food options from sandwiches to salads to whole chickens. On the weekend, they offer quiches.
Essentially, they are a coffee shop by day that slowly transitions to a dinner grab-and-go eatery by night.
“The word ‘roast’ is associated with both the coffee and chicken,” Toujani said. “We wanted to offer a coffee shop that also provides a restaurant option with seating and dinner meals.”
The bread and pastries come from Balthazar and Ceci Cela Patisserie, while the coffee is from La Colombe. There are organic teas and organic eggs, and the free-range chicken is all natural and hormone-free.
They can cook up to 50 rotisserie chicken within an hour using a high-powered, top-of-the-line oven. Roast n Co also offers healthier options for side dishes, including sautéed kale, quinoa, sweet potatoes and homemade french fries.
With two Tunisians and one Algerian behind Roast n Co, there are little glimpses of their cultures in a few dishes. For instance, the Mediterranean tuna sandwich is a popular Tunisian meal, and for customers wanting to purchase some Tunisian products, Roast n Co sells olive oil, Harissa, tuna and organic dates.
The most popular breakfast item has been their twist on a classic New York breakfast, the egg and cheese sandwich, because they use white cheddar, soft brioche bread and top it off with a tomato jam.
Toujani has been a chef for over 20 years, and as residents of the area, he and his wife found that there weren't many choices to order food. With a dream to one day open his own business, Toujani took the opportunity to do so and it has paid off.
There has been an overwhelming response of support from the community. Through word-of-mouth and Facebook community groups such as, Roast n Co has an average of 200 or more visitors daily.
Interacting and getting to know their customers is imperative, Toujani said, adding that “service is a big part of our business, especially since we plan to stay here for a long time."