Coffee fans, get ready: another boutique coffee shop is opening its doors next Sunday in Aquebogue.
Hampton Coffee Company set an official opening date for its fourth location. Beginning at 6 a.m. Sunday Jan. 17, coffee lovers in the area will be able to treat themselves to their cup of specially brewed North Fork Organic Blend.
But the medium roast coffee blend won’t be the only thing for sale.
Breakfast sandwiches, soup, paninis, oatmeal, muffins, croissants, scones and more — all which are made fresh at the store, often with local ingredients — round out the menu, along with “true Italian-style espresso drinks” and teas. Gluten-free, low carb and vegetarian options are available. The store will also boast a ‘Bean Bar’ with barrels full of different flavor coffee beans that customers can mix and match to create their own roast.
All coffee sold at the store is roasted locally at the company’s gas fire roaster in Southampton. CEO Jason Belkin explained that coffee beans come as two hard, green seeds of a “coffee cherry.” Once the beans are removed and begin to spin around in the roaster, they become the familiar brown beans people have come to associate the popular drink with.
The company’s roastmaster, Dwight Amade, delivers freshly roasted coffee to all the locations every two or three days, Belkin said.
But a small coffee roaster is still located in Aquebogue. The roaster was actually used only once prior to being brought to Aquebogue — to aid a competitor in a barista competition, Belkin said, adding more character to a building that already has so much of it.
Originally a mechanic shop and gas station in the 1940s, the former Go Solar building has maintained much of its original feel, including the ramp that led from the checkout counter to the garage floor, which the Belkins have incorporated into the layout of the store.
“It was really important that we kept it [similar],” he said. “Instead of demolishing everything, we kept everything and restored it.”
The company hung gooseneck lights, framed old pictures of the garage to be hung on the walls, replaced the door with a new one to match the original and kept the garage doors, filling them in with glass windows.
Once the summer rolls around the two glass-paned garage doors at the front of the building will open to patio style seating. Picnic tables will be placed on the land near the parking lot to offer additional seating and a view of the farm fields nearby.
Inside the building is bar-style seating directly across from the counter and behind that are two-person tables. Belkin said they wanted to make sure that someone coming alone or in a two-person group would feel comfortable sitting near someone else.
He described the Aquebogue location as a combination of people’s favorite aspects from the other locations, calling it his “best accomplishment.”
Belkin began working for the company in college and later purchased it with his wife, Theresa, in 1999 when it comprised just the Water Mill location. The couple slowly expanded elsewhere on the South Fork before establishing themselves there and making the move northward.
“For years, our customers have asked us to come up here,” he said. “So many of our customers will be, say, a teacher at a Westhampton Beach school — they’ll come to us for lunch in Westhampton Beach and say ‘Oh, I would love one on the North Fork. You should come up there. I would get breakfast from you.’”
Additionally, the Belkins frequent the North Fork and noticed that there wasn’t many sit down cafés around, something he felt was missing that they community could benefit from. It was a similar sentiment that spawned the birth of North Fork Roasting Co. in Southold earlier this year.
As his company grows, so does Belkin’s love for the product that started it all.
“I like the coffee itself,” he said of his favorite part of the business he’s been apart of for the past 22 years. “It has such a good smell and feeling to it. Coffee is such a positive thing, you know? No parent would feel nervous sending his or her kid on a date to a coffee bar … its a product to be proud of. Its such a sensory, unique, special product.”