Alpha Astoria

2 german girls review greek cafes in Astoria Queens

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Lefkos Pirgos -- 31st 23rd ave

Cafe number 4 is Lefkos Pirgos. There was a time (way back last week) when we had decided that Lefkos was a bakery and not a cafe and therefore we did not have to go there -- but then one of our readers claimed it was a cafe and it went back on the list no questions asked -- this is just one of the many sacrifices we have made for you people.

That said... Lefkos is TOTALLY a bakery (in your face readers!). They don't have menus save the little plastic table-top cards and though they *claim* to serve pizza and "Greek toast" (toast with honey? toast with humus? toast with Nescafe? mmmmm yummy!) there was no kitchen that we could see. They do however have:

1. Booze
2. Greek TV with the volume set to"outdoor voice" and the channel set to "bad soap opera"(special bonus: Greek subtitles! for our deaf readers who also read Greek (niche market people.))
3. Enough pastries to support the suspicious number of dentists in Astoria (seriously, we may have stumbled upon a vast conspiracy...).

The crowd skewed much older and less euro-trashy than that at the last three establishments. Because we are young, arrogant whippersnappers old kind of brings the Patron attractiveness rating down. The wait staff held their own though -- these Greek cafes seem to have a monopoly on pretty young things.

We were going to sit outside, however "outside" is a synonym for "smoking section" so we sat inside mostly by ourselves (there was also an old Greek lady with her eyes glued to the soaps... more on her later, stay tuned.). The no-menus thing caught us off guard and made us look like bumbling idiots in front of our very nice waitress who immediately showed up to take our order. After much hemming and hawing by the two of us she offered to take us up to the never ending row of pastry cases and explain in detail all of our options -- yeah! The dessert selection at Lefkos is really quite impressive -- we felt somewhat obligated to get something vaguely Greek so we steered away from the (very tempting) napoleons, cheesecakes and tiramisu. We settled on Ekmek ($5.00) -- a layered cake thing consisting of:

1. layer of shredded philo dough
2. layer of honey soaked almonds
3. layer of vanilla custard
4. layer of whipped cream
Place this into a large pool of Greek honey and voila! 5000 calories of yum.

We also both had a medium (sweetness, not size) frappe ($3.50) which was good though less sweet then those offered at other places (we could have both gone for a "sweet" over the "medium" -- on that note, we're feeling pretty hip to the lingo these days, impressive huh?). Amy's milk refused to merge with her nescafe and sugar making her slightly concerned about her stirring abilities.

We did not go to the bathroom so we can't give it rating (damn our empty bladders) -- pee at your own risk folks.

Awesome Astoria Activities

I wonder what the over/under is on Amy fitting into her wedding dress after 15 more servings of Greek desserts....

Also: a few stores down (towards Ditmars) we stopped in on the cutest little boutique with adorable designer-y clothing at fairly reasonable prices. We plan on spending money here in an effort to encourage clothing stores other than Mandee to converge on the neighborhood.

Food: 3.5
Service: 4.5
Ambiance: 2.5
Average Attractiveness of Staff: 3
Average Attractiveness of Patrons: 2

And now a very scary story:

Upon starting this project we had been slightly concerned that we might not be so welcome in the Greek cafes what with our clearly not Greek looks. But mostly we (and our money) have been welcomed, and with the exception of the occasional absent waitress (who, it should be noted seems to be absent regardless of ethnicity) we've felt very comfortable in the cafes that we've been to. Ironically we immediately started talking about this when we sat down at Lefkos....

So. It's late in the review process, most of the cake has been reduced to custard residue mixed with honey. We're sitting there in the corner. Drinking our coffees, taking notes, making catty comments about people walking by. Brianna decides to take a picture of the pretty pretty spinning tower of cakes. This was, perhaps, a huge mistake.

The old Greek lady was ripped away from her soap operas when her spidey senses alerted her to the illegal (??) photo-taking events now transpiring in (her?) cafe. She immediately came over to our table to demand information about the photo we had just taken -- but before we could even get out our lie (about a friend? with a birthday coming up? and how he would love a pretty pretty yummy cake? and that we would totally give her money for it?) she informed us that our behavior would not be tolerated and that next time we should "Be careful" and "Watch out." We tried to laugh this off and smile cutely so she would turn off her evil eye and go back to her soaps but... no dice.

So... we're not sure if we'll be doing another review; we might have a curse on us, or we might be killed by the Greek old lady Mafia. If either of these things happen please, someone hire Chloe from Smallville, or Veronica Mars or one of those CSI guys to use their magic crime fightin' tools to examine this photo and figure out just what kind of evil plot the Lefkos cake display is a front for.


  • At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Annwyn said…

    WOW that cheesy display cabinet looks like it is about to blast off! I am wondering what the concern was. Unless the cafe is really a "front" for some Greek mafia. Or maybe the waitress is tired of living vicariously and wanted to add some drama to her own life.

  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger floozigrl said…

    holy dionysis!!! that has to be the oddest cafe story i've ever heard. you should have totally flipped the camera upward and gotten a shot of her evil eye on you and THEN see what the crazy lady would have done then. wow, i don't even have the words...

  • At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you must continue with the journey!!! there will be more crazy old women, and maybe even some crazy young men, but it will be worth it at the end of your quest....! now, watch out!

  • At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    we should all go take photos of the cake display!

  • At 3:27 PM, Blogger themikestand said…

    Awesome. Nice work, Agents.

    Your camera story only serves to reinforce the fact that you need a very pricey Digital SLR camera that you need no flash for. Do they make silencers for camera shutters?

  • At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You should have tried Galaktobouriko (The "G" thing) at Lefkos Pirgos. It would have redeemed your opinion of the pastry.

  • At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    beware of Yuli, the owner. She is a challenge for every psychiatrist!!!

  • At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    did this place used to be a White Castle? what's with the roof line?

  • At 9:19 PM, Blogger Brianna said…

    wow... it totally does look like a white castle! I'm adding this to the long list of open Greek Cafe mysteries.

  • At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    white castle in greek is "lefkos pirgos"
    I lived across the street from that place for almost 8 years.
    I never once thought to sit down there, it seemed like they wanted only Greek people in there, or if the you weren't greek, at least be male. I would get pastry to go and they would change the price on me every time. In fairness they did this to my boyfriend too at the time. I wish you took a picture of the crazy lady too!

  • At 8:48 PM, Anonymous J0HNNYCRAE said…

    You yuppies are so ignorant.

    I have lived in astoria for 28 years and have spent many of evenings in this Cafe.

    The mere fact you even mentioned mafia makes me want to slap you.

    Ps:This establishment was never a White Castle either

  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger megc said…

    Great post, ladies! Wish I had gotten to read it sooner. Lefkos Pyrgos is near my apartment and I have enjoyed the pastries there. I often get attitude by one of the women behind the counter, though.

    As far as photographing goes and getting harrassed, take a look here:

    for your rights.

    Keep up the good work!

  • At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yo J0HNNYCRAE, I lived in Astoria alot longer than you and I say they were dead on about the Greek mafia.

  • At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It makes me laugh when people say things like "oh they only like greeks to sit there"!! And i agree with you JohnnyCrae- it is a great cafe- and it is a cafe not a bakery only- they don't need a menu because thats all it is- a place to get a coffee, cappuccino or a frappe- they make a killer frappe that can last a few hours- and you don't havr to smoke to sit outside- if you ask nicely- not in the yuppie way- like saying please not to smoke next to you- they will be polite back to you- I live a few blocks away- and am not Greek nor am I Italian, and I have no qualms about sitting here- I really don't know what the thing is with people about sitting in a greek/"euro" cafe!! Get over your haughtyness and enjoy the melting pot that is NYC!!! FYI- every establishment has its own share of wackos

  • At 4:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wuz tha lady chubby wit shoulder length brown hair? hah dont take her words lightly
    this place has great pastries but u want sumtin even better goto artopolis across the street inthe shopping center

  • At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I lived in Astoria for a couple years and the crazy lady definitely freaked me at first. At first i thought it was just a bakery but then saw that they were always packed on friday and saturday for the Greek mafia i dunno much about that.

  • At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Goddamn fucking Transplants!! Go back to the fucking midwest, or south or wherever the hell you Transplants came from!

  • At 6:36 PM, Blogger spappas said…

    The owner of Lefkos Pirgos is the WORST business woman I've ever encountered. I will never step foot in there again. Go to Artopolis across the street - they have much better stuff anyway.

  • At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They have a menu now and artopolis is out of buisness because lefkos pirgos is a astoria staple


  • At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    YEAH, I agree with all the negative comments posted on here. That wacko lady needs a major wake-up call. SHE DOESN'T OWE ASTORIA, nor the world. Her pastries are gross anyway. Go to Martha's on Ditmars. At least, the service is much better!

  • At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Funny... i was watching a movie (The accidental husband) and my eye cought a scene near a blue cafe named Lefkos Pyrgos. Having the laptop next to me i searched for Lefkos Pyrgos in Astoria and hound it here!! Lefkos Pyrgos in greek means White Tower and the name comes from a tower named White Tower (no its not white but that is it's name) that is settled in the port of Thessaloniki the second biggest city in Greece. I am greek so this info is correct.
    I really enjoyed your comments for the place and the people who own it.
    Have a nice day and enjoy the greek pastries.


  • At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The funniest thing I've ever seen was the two pill popping Greek sisters who own this "bathroom" inspired cafe getting into an all out, hair pulling, grill popping brawl over one of there degenerate, gambling husbands who's constantly screwing some greek peroxide dyed bimbo blonde "kariola". And believe me you this is the real cheesed out greek soap opera experience if your ever in the hood and have some time to kill.

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    please somebody take that lady to the nearest looney bin, there is no way i set a foot inthat place again... by mistake we sat in a table they consider it was for 8 (we were three) and that pshyco yeeled at the waitress in the middle of the room to let us know we have to sit at other table


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