NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When he opened a snack shop in Queens, Mitsumine Oda realized his American dream.
A native of Chiba, Japan, he cooked in high-end restaurants and sold fish at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market. Over a decade ago, he left for New York City with the goal of running a business of his own.
He’s doing just that at 969 NYC Coffee, whose name incorporates his lucky number.
He serves sushi, ramen, and yakisoba alongside handheld, portable snacks like onigiri – a rice snack stuffed with fillings like salted fish. While traditional versions are shaped into triangles, Oda’s onigiri come in the shape of a heart to represent his love for New York City.
His chicken sandwiches are atypical, too. Instead of built between slices of bread, they are layered with vegetables and bundled in rice and seaweed.
Running the only café of this type in a largely Hispanic section of Jackson Heights, Oda feels like a welcome member of the community.
“In this area, the customers are such nice people,” he said.
Oda says that his dream is not about profit. He aims to keep his menu affordable, and he donates tips to charities.
“I want to take care of [people]. That’s it,” he said.
969 NYC Coffee
3761 80th Street
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
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