Swing the Teapot

I want to bend the rules of this column a little bit in the hope of turning you on to a small little cafe I’ve got a crush on. You see, the problem is this column, West of LI, is about people, places and things that exist, well, just outside the (516) area code and within the five boroughs of New York City. Swing the Teapot (named for a family tradition of sharing a pot of tea in communal fashion) is nestled in that sweet zone of cross-pollination called Floral Park right on the border of Nassau County and Queens…on this side of suburbia. But who can really tell where one thing truly ends and another begins, right? So you’ll have to forgive me, dear reader. I hope you know by now that I wouldn’t steer you wrong anyway.

Swing the Teapot does have Irish roots that go back to Woodside though, and that counts for something. And so do the Irish Breakfast and Corned Beef Hash. In fact, a taste of the old country lined up next to scrumptious brunchy items, paninis, salads, wraps et al make for a pretty terrific menu that has a little something for everyone. And I haven’t even mentioned the teas and coffees and beer and wine.

But it’s not the menu that makes me think about this place every time I pass Tulip Avenue while cruising Jericho Turnpike. It’s the spirit of the place. The first time I stepped into Swing the Teapot, I did so based on the recommendation of one of my students. She thought it would be a cool place to hold a showcase for our school’s Songwriting Club. When I walked in, I was greeted with a great cup of coffee, a warm smile and a comfy spot to think and write in the midday sun. A similar thing happened on a late afternoon visit and date with a burger. The third visit sealed the deal. I walked into a sold-out concert by James Maddock, a critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter who is finding his way onto some of the best stages in the area right now. Amazing. A tiny intimate venue with great food and drink and friendly service that exceptional singer-songwriters like to come out and play at. Maybe they too are bewitched by the idea of crossroads and great small businesses and can’t tell where one kind of beauty ends and another begins.

Live @ Swing the Teapot
December 14-15—Marshall Crenshaw
December 29-30—Mike Barry

alan semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian is a writer, musician, English teacher, and occasional visual artist. Besides LI Pulse, his work has appeared in Newsday, Adbusters, Chain, The Lyric Review and numerous other print and online publications, anthologies, and chapbooks. His first full-length book of poetry is In the Architecture of Bone (Genpop Books 2009). You can visit him digitally at alanarts.com and find out about his music at alansemerdjian.com.