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Layover alert: superb roti near JFK
Some of New York's best Caribbean-style roti is served at Atma's Roti Shop (127-07 Rockaway Boulevard, Queens, 718-641-1769) just minutes from JFK by car.
Caribbean roti, for the uninitiated, is a spongy, filling wheat flatbread. It is usually served with curried chicken, goat, shrimp, or vegetables. Atma's dhalpuri roti (with ground legumes and spices) is ridiculously good, and both the chicken and goat are highly recommended. The latter, quite characteristically, requires nimble deboning. The vegetable sides are also delicious, particularly the spinach with coconut and the creamy eggplant. Pennypinchers can relax. It's difficult to spend more than $10 per person here.
Atma's is a sunny blast of Caribbean culture. Recorded music is sold in one corner, and packaged Trinidadian snacks can be purchased at the counter. If you're not obviously from the Anglophone Caribbean you might be greeted with a slightly bemused smile upon entrance. The proprietors are extremely friendly.
And if roti isn't your bag, the neighborhood might still be of interest. The commercial strip along Rockaway Boulevard near the Van Wyck is full of Guyanese specialty shops.