Sarikopa, an organic coffee and tea shop, will open soon near the Riverside traffic circle, offering free wi-fi, outdoor garden seating and a breakfast and lunch menu.
In addition to hot beverages, the Riverleigh Avenue café will also serve smoothies, fresh juices, milkshakes, frozen slushies and protein shakes. A lunch menu will offer made-to-order paninis, wraps, pastries and daily soups – all organic as well.
A selection of 27 loose teas in labeled jars allows customers to choose and prepare their tea themselves. Flavors include ginger peach, chocolate chai, acai berry and coconut. A separate compartment on top of each jar gives customers the chance to sniff the teas before committing to a flavor.
“My tea-drinking friends came to try them out, and they spent half an hour smelling, looking, trying to pick,” said Kravit, laughing. “Next time they came again, they still could not choose.”
Fifteen years ago, Kravit emigrated to the United States from Lithuania, where she ran a foreign language school. She opened a home care services company in Westhampton Beach, which she has managed for several years.
Sarikopa will be Kravit’s first venture into running a café. She has spent the past six months transforming a two-story, single-family house on Riverleigh Avenue into her vision of a European coffeeshop.
The building no longer has two floors, but instead features a high, open ceiling with rafter beams criss-crossing above. The walls are painted a bright, soothing yellow. Cubicle-style shelves display a colorful variety of foreign food products, books and magazines, with funky, brightly-painted tea kettles lining the walls.
Small tables with cushioned chairs are positioned conveniently next to electrical outlets, so that customers can charge their electronic devices. One table even has an iPad mounted to it for public use.
“I wanted this place to be like a warm house,” Kravit explained. “I wanted everybody to feel comfortable.”
Outdoor seating is available on the house’s wraparound porch. There are also picnic tables and umbrellas on a rear patio. Set back from the noise of the road, the patio is surrounded by bushes, flowers, birdhouses and even two pear trees. Kravit envisions live music there. An organic garden runs along the driveway to the rear parking lot.
“Some people come and ask me, ‘How come you did this place not in Southampton, or East Hampton? How come you are doing it in Riverhead?’” said Kravit, who moved from East Hampton to Riverhead after purchasing the building. “I think Riverhead is deserving of nice places too.”
Siris Barrios, community liaison for Riverside Rediscovered, a community organizing and outreach initiative launched by Riverside master developer Renaissance Downtowns, said she is grateful Kravit decided to set up shop in Riverside.
“We’re super excited, because there isn’t anything like this locally on the Riverside side of the river,” she said.
A definitive opening date for Sarikopa is still a few months away, Kravit said, because she is still wrangling with permits from the Suffolk County Health Department to cook and serve food. But once the health department gives her the all-clear, Kravit says she will be ready to open her doors.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Katie Blasl
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