40-09 30TH AVE., ASTORIA
Photos courtesy of Comfortland
NOVEMBER 2 0 1 8 I BOROMAG.COM 23
Alongside D'Alessio Barbieri's scrumptious
pastries, Comfortland also offers yeast doughnuts,
which are baked by Jackie Legge.
“She brings an exciting new perspective
on pastry,” D'Alessio said of his colleague.
“She has amazing technique … and she
gets to express her creativity in the stuff that
Indeed, Legge's yeast creations are up
to snuff with the creative, mouthwatering
fare Queens Comfort regulars are used to.
Legge's doughnuts include the Sugar Hill
— a honey glazed doughnut topped with
powdered sugar, bacon and cream cheese
frosting — and the sweet potato cream fi lled
doughnut with maple glaze and meringue,
among numerous others.
However, you can't have doughnuts
without coffee, which is why Comfortland
teamed up with Brian Donaldson's company,
Native Coffee Roasters, which is located
mere blocks away. “We're blessed
that we get to work directly with the roaster,”
D'Alessio said, describing Donaldson as “a
self-taught expert.” Comfortland also has an
espresso machine, which the co-owner is excited
to experiment with. D'Alessio's favorite
coffee drink is the malt cold brew, which
tastes as good as it sounds.
In addition to their pastries, Comfortland
also serves soup, biscuit sandwiches (which
are crazy good), tater tots — you get the idea.
D'Alessio described it as counter service
“Everything's packaged so you can take it to
go, or you could stay here,” he explained, saying
that the space has 35-40 seats. And while
their previous venture felt cramped in this location,
Comfortland offers its customers room
to breathe. “We had so many toys and stuff
over at Queens Comfort when we came here,
Donnie was like, 'We're doing the complete
opposite,'” D'Alessio Barbieri recalled.
Make no mistake — they've still got the
loud, thumping music and the occasional
kitschy knickknack, but the shop somehow
“It's so bright and airy,” she said. “People
come in here and they're like, 'This is not the
Indeed, the atmosphere at Comfortland is
cheery, laid-back and full of color, which is a
nod to D'Alessio Barbieri's personal brand,
“Everything I have is hot pink,” she gushed,
going on to say that she told her brother to
incorporate pink into the space. “I think it's
funky,” D'Alessio said. “We were very selective
with how we used it — we didn't want it
just to be obnoxious or feel contrived. We
wanted it to feel natural and work with everything
else that was going on.”
And in that regard they've succeeded,
somehow managing to decorate the shop
with a considerable amount of pink without
it feeling overwhelming. This theme is further
enforced by the whimsical, grinning donut
mural on the wall, which was done by illustrator
Kevin Lyons. D'Alessio explained that he's
a huge fan of the artist, and when they reached
out, they weren't expecting him to say yes.
“It turns out his daughter loves doughnuts,
so he was really into it,” D'Alessio said. “It
kind of sets the tone. It's fun, goofy, bright,
and just happy.”
They also commissioned several handpainted
signs from Noble Signs (all of the hot
pink ones that hang both in and outside the
shop) and from local hand sign painter, Dick
Muller. They did, however, repurpose some
of the sign letters above the door, which
used to read Queens Comfort.
And the response from the community has
been overwhelmingly positive, according to
“I think the best part about opening it is
all the people coming in, saying, 'Congratulations,
we're so happy for you!'” D'Alessio
Barbieri said. “People we've known since
Queens Comfort for the last seven years.”
It should come as no surprise given their
track record, but in just one month, they've
managed to establish Comfortland as an essential
neighborhood fi xture.
D'Alessio's vision for the bakery can be
summed up in one word: easy.
“It's easy to come here and read a book.
Easy to have a meeting. Easy place to get inspired
if you're a writer or an artist,” he said.
“I just want it to always feel easy, and I just
want people to feel comfortable here no