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Cafe Bliss & Minimart Closes Due to ‘High Rent’, Will Reopen Blocks Away

Cafe Bliss & Minimart at 45-01 Queens Blvd., which closed earlier this month. The owners plan to relocate to a new spot three blocks away. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

March 12, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

Cafe Bliss & Minimart, the corner store and eatery on 45th Street and Queens Boulevard, has closed after the owners say they were faced with steep rental fees, with plans already in place to reopen just blocks away.

The 45-01 Queens Blvd. corner had been a bodega for years, and had gone through an extensive renovation in past months that included new seating, furnishings and cleared windows for a new cafe/store concept.

The renovated corner, which offered a menu of breakfast platters, salads, sandwiches and Indian foods, was steadily growing in popularity before its closure earlier this month.

The location as seen in 2009 and in 2017. (Google Maps)

While the longtime owners of the family-owned business were unable to be reached by press time, they said on a March 5 post to the cafe’s Instagram page that high rents forced them to close their location. They promised, however, to reopen at 44-17 48th Ave., just three blocks to the south.

Sunnyside Shines, the local business improvement organization, also took to social media to spread the news about Cafe Bliss.

“Thank you Mina and Jhon…for your hospitality and for always being so kind,” reads Sunnyside Shines’ March 1 post. “We will miss having you at the corner of Queens Blvd and 45th Street.”

The BID said in subsequent comments that the new location would likely open sometime in the beginning of April.

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31 Comments

Tom

I almost got into a fist fight with Jhonny one time because he wouldn’t toast my bagel the way I wanted it.

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TJ

When were they ever open in the morning? I always wanted to give them a try on the way to work but they were never open. I don’t leave that early (7:30-8:00). I hope they consider better hours in their new location or they’re going to be moving again.

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LIC Direct

Beginning of the end, it’s a changing neighborhood and not for the better. Things are dirtier, streets are full of garbage, no one sweeps in front of their homes, it’s becoming a gritty dirty, crime ridden city once again, a city of haves and have nots who a constant struggle and the shrinking middle/working class.

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SuperWittySmitty

When haven’t they been saying this? Meanwhile, some of us Sunnysiders who’ve been here over 20 years are quite happy. I’ve seen so many improvements in the area and I don’t think there’s that much to complain about.

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Jim

I’m sad that they had to relocate but man that woman was impossible to deal with. You had to repeat your order to her 5 times before she got it right. And then she was always trying to be your friend. Ughhh.

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Rikki

I agree with Jim. I feel badly for those people. The neighborhood is being destroyed. But I had to tell Mina over and over that all I want is a bagel with butter. I don’t want it toasted!!!!!!

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JH

You’re right Jim, she was friendly and did go above and beyond to get your order perfect. I never needed 2 tries to do it, much less 5.

You on the other hand, sound like one of the perpetually miserable people I’d occasionally find being needlessly difficult in there.

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Pat

Sad they got “rent priced” out New location is out of way for people on North side of Qeens Blvd …

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El loco

The commercial landlords are killing this neighborhood. Where is the city council that enacts stupid laws like not allowing businesses to discriminate based on hairstyle. Enact a law that helps people.

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Locopollo

Take a look at 43rd ave between 42nd and 43rd st. Its almost all shutters looking like some warzone. At night its complete darkness there because the storefronts have left. This is urban blight looking right in our face. Greedy landords need to realize holding out for higher rents doesnt help nobody

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43rd & 43rd

That block is a combination of things. East to west:
Liquor store is open (lol).
Laundromat had a fire a few years ago, burned down, didn’t reopen.
Romanian import store closed awhile back because they honestly sold nothing. Don’t know how they stayed open that long.
Chinese takeout is open.
Dry-cleaners is open and that’s huge, I think they actually do the dry-cleaning on-site.
The rest of the block was one big bodega that closed awhile back. They originally closed temporarily to renovate but something changed (don’t know what) and ended up not coming back.
There is a little import/butcher shop on the corner, that was carved out of the bodega, that’s still open. Not sure they sell anything either…

So, 3 businesses closed and 3 open. They’re doing new construction on the bodega space starting last week, so something new is coming in there, don’t know what. It looks like it’s being carved up into more spaces to support more different businesses.

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Mike Hawk

Yes…greedy greedy landlords…we need socialism! Those greedy landlords should give up their life savings to small businesses for free. Yes..Pass laws to make them give away their buildings to the masses and make them pay for all the repairs and utilities. If the small business fails have the taxpayer bail them out. Better yet raise the taxes on everyone!!!!

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El loco

No, we don’t have to pass laws to make them sell their buildings but why should they be allowed to ruin whole communities because of their greed? How about a law that says they can’t keep empty their stores for more than 6 months? How about a law capping what rent they could charge? Yes, Mina and Johnny were pains in the neck, always fighting with customers, with each other, rarely getting orders right but we loved them and they were a part of our community. Now all we have are empty store fronts. Do something Jimmy!

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El wrongo

What greed? Guy buys property,
Property value goes skyhigh,
Guy gets max value on his investment
I highly doubt you own anything, but if you do, would you rent it out at less then market value? You sound like a sour bitter little man.

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Anonymous

This is tremendously sad. I was born in this neighborhood and this gentleman and his wife were my corner store growing up. I am glad to see that they won’t be moving far. I wouldn’t be surprise if Amazon is behind this along with JVB and his stupid bike lanes dumb environmentalist with there stupid bike lanes

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rikki

I know its a DUMB idea but how about giving tax breaks to mom and pop stores not amazon

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rikki is a moron

There’s all kinds of business incentives and tax credits in New York State for mom and pop stores.

So yet again, you DID share a really dumb idea.

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El loco

Actually, for once Rikki has had a good idea. But the city council only has bad ideas or ones to help illegal immigrants.

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Zinsu

Aw, I’ll miss this place. The owners were lovely. Glad they’re reopening, though the new location isn’t really in my flight path. And now — can we get Zen Yai to set up shop on that corner?

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Sara Ross

Zinsu – they’re only going to be 3 blocks away. Support them. There are enough small businesses, which built this city, that have disappeared due to rents or changing neighborhoods.

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nobody

Sad to see them leave that space after all the work they put in. I’m glad that they will live on a few blocks away. Great eats and great people.

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Ruben Camacho

I love how desperate real estate is trying to keep pushing sunnyside as a place to be. Stroll up and down the blvd and you.ll see so many stores closed , waiting for the big numbers to come in. Truth is sunnyside isnt growing it’s at a complete stand still.

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bxgrl

Considering “growth” means rent gouging and gentrification which displaces longtime businesses and residents alike, I’ll take the standstill, thank you.

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Always sunny

Stores are closing down everywhere in this city, and in other cities around the world, it’s not just Sunnyside. Storefront retail is not economical anymore as it is too inefficient to compete with online ordering which doesn’t require a physical presence. Restaurants and big chains will hold out longer than small shops but their days are numbered too. Eventually these spaces will get reused for something else like housing, offices or short-term storage. Building owners haven’t figured out the new model yet.

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A.Bundy

the new real estate developments prove you completely wrong. the new condo at the corner of 48th, the new commercial buildings on queens blvd, and so on. once those are built, prices will skyrocket even higher. nothing you can do but buy a place or find cheaper rent. people that cant handle change are the ones left in the dust.

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