A couple of months ago, a bright new mural appeared on Suydam Street. A cartoonish hand, holding a steaming cup, with bright rays of yellow bursting from behind, announced the lure of coffee and more, from inside. “How long have you been here,” I asked on my first visit last week. A deadpan, “two years,” from Ewelina Heperek, was the reply.
Heperek, who co-owns the Alizee café with Karolina Musial, has been working hard to increase the business’s visibility. For years they had been hidden behind a non-descript green awning. Now they’re out in the open, alerting neighbors who just didn’t know they were there. In the petite café, they serve coffee and tea and mix of sandwiches, smoothies, and breakfast items.
The menu is peppered with Polish names, with items like the Zapiekanka — a baguette cradling grilled mushrooms and cheese. The carefully constructed Kanapka sports layers of smoky poledwica ham and podlaski cheese with hard boiled egg, tomato, and butter. Bushwickers can stay on this side of the borough line for their Warsaw-inflected grub now. A more American item is The Hangover, with ham, bacon, sauteed onions, and an egg on a roll — ask for the spicy mayo.
“We want to do more hourly specials. Hot periogis, stuff like that,” says Heperek, who lives above the café. It’s surprisingly busy on a Thursday afternoon, as a small line forms for toasted bagels, freshly squeezed apple and carrot juice, and scrambled eggs served with Polish sausage and onions. The café has a homespun feel, with shelves stocked with bowls and utensils, and a domestic fridge stocked with pitchers of coffee waiting to be poured over cups of ice.