Get ready, coffee lovers – a new coffee bar and café is about to open in Aquebogue.
Hampton Coffee Company is opening its fourth location next Sunday, January 17 on Main Road, bringing its locally-roasted blends and made-to-order breakfast and lunch items to the North Fork for the first time.
“Our customers have been asking us literally for years to come to Riverhead,” said Jason Belkin, who owns the business with his wife, Theresa.
Anyone who has visited one of Hampton Coffee Company’s locations on the South Fork knows the business’s reputation for fresh drinks and food with real, often local ingredients. All of the company’s beans are hand-roasted locally at its Southampton location, and near-daily deliveries to its cafés mean that customers are often buying coffee that was roasted that very morning.
“It’s so fresh,” Belkin said. “Keeping everything fresh is very important to us.”
That goes for all of their food, too. Every item on their breakfast and lunch menus is made-to-order at the café with real ingredients. “Nothing comes frozen or packaged,” Belkin said. “We assemble everything from scratch in the morning.”
Belkin designed the menu to include “something for everyone,” including vegetarian, gluten-free and low-carb options. In addition to baked goods and pastries, the café will serve up paninis, soups, wraps and salads, along with special seasonal dishes.
“We always have a special lunch item – a pulled pork sandwich, a Cuban sandwich,” Belkin said. “Last week we did a jalapeño grilled cheese.”
When local produce is in season, Hampton Coffee Company collaborates with farmers to feature their products on the menu. Belkin has already begun talking with Goodale Farms next-door about getting a panini with Goodale’s goat cheese on the menu.
“We like to be part of the community,” he said.
The couple’s community-minded attitude motivated them to preserve the building where they will open their new café, rather than knocking it down and starting anew. A former gas station and mechanic shop, the building dates back at least to the 1940s, and Belkin says it was important for them to pay homage to the location’s past.
“It took a little longer than we thought, but we wanted to preserve the building and do things the right way,” Belkin said.
The result is some creative uses of the location’s history to enhance the café. The mechanic shop’s original garage doors remain at the front of the building, and Belkin plans to roll them up on warm summer days to create a large, open space between the outdoor patio and the indoor seating.
“It’ll be a city-style, patio dining kind of thing,” he said.
Belkin also has some old photographs of the original gas station that date back to 1942, which he plans to hang on the café’s walls – made of cement, just like the original shop. “It’s a beautiful old building,” Belkin said. “We didn’t want to waste anything.”
Coincidentally, Hampton Coffee Company’s other three locations also have histories rooted in cars. Its original café in Water Mill was once a mechanic shop with a four-car garage. “It’s what first drew us to this building,” Belkin said. “It looked like a mini Water Mill.”
At less than 1,000 square feet, the Aquebogue building is smaller than Hampton Coffee Company’s other locations. But Belkin hopes a mixture of bar seating and small tables will give both single customers and small groups an attractive and comfortable place to relax with a coffee and some food for a while.
In addition to coffee, the café will also serve teas, freshly prepared smoothies with real fruit, frappucinos called “freezes” and Italian sodas.
Beans will be available for purchase at a “bean bar,” where customers can scoop freshly roasted beans from barrels and even combine them to make their own blends. The bean bar will feature the café’s most popular flavors in addition to a monthly roaster’s choice.
“We put different tasting notes on the barrels so that you can read about it,” Belkin said. “People are really into craft beer, but coffee is just like that.”
Hampton Coffee Company will have a grand opening on January 17 at 272 Main Road, Aquebogue.
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