"We've gotten to know every single person who comes to our window," chef Diana Manalang said.
The cafe in Long Island City grew out of Manalang's catering company Little Chef Little Kitchen.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, they offered 12 seats inside the cafe and a menu of salads, empanadas, smoothies, coffee, and baked goods.
EATS IN THE BRONX: Neem in Riverdale celebrates Indian, Bangladeshi, and Guyanese cuisines
When the lockdowns began, Manalang's two revenue streams flipped.
"We had planned that catering would be seventy to eighty percent of the business and the cafe would be twenty to thirty and that has flipped completely on its head," Manalang said.
So she added to her cafe menu by digging into her Filipino roots with traditional soups and unconventional tacos.
"There are no tacos in Filipino cuisine, but what we do is make the tacos in Filipino flavors," Manalang said.
Customers canfollow that up with an ube dessert, or any dessert for that matter, which are particularly popular with the kids after school.
And while catering hasn't come back yet, the cafe that she opened in 2019 is the very thing that's kept Manalang and her staff employed and engaged.
"I've been deemed 'Aunty Muffins' in the neighborhood," Manalang said. "That's the biggest reward we've achieved through all of this is we've really gotten to know our clientele."
Little Chef Little Cafe is open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
EATS IN MANHATTAN: Unique outdoor dining experience at Dr. Clark
* More Queens news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip