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New to the community, northforker reporter Felicia LaLomia is writing about her experiences trying things for the first time on the North Fork. First up: North Fork Roasting Co., which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in business next week.

After parking my car, I walked to the back door, and when the knob refused my turn, I sheepishly walked around to the front, thinking the whole world noticed.

Walking in, I was greeted with every small town’s hipster coffee shop — velvet and leather couches, eclectic gallery wall, random books scattered, a fireplace, relaxing music and even a vintage typewriter. It was familiar, cozy and welcoming, and I immediately loved it.

At the counter, I had a moment of panic. The barista was asking me what she could do for me, and I felt like I had just a few moments to order. Looking at the menu, I saw no non-coffee options, which is a problem because I don’t like coffee. After a second scan though, I saw my go-to — a chai latte. 

“I’ll take a chai latte,” I said before glancing down and spotting cinnamon buns sitting artfully on a tray. “And one of those.”

“Dirty or regular?” the barista replied, creating yet another moment of panic.

I assumed she was referring to the latte, but what the hell is a dirty chai?

“Let’s go with dirty,” I replied. I guess I’ll find out. 

I found a seat in the corner by the window. By the time I put my things down, my drink and cinnamon bun were ready. I brought them over, sat down and cracked open my book.

As I took it all in I witnessed what I can only assume is the typical weekday morning of this place: A regular with a few hours off from work chatting up the barista; the coffee shop dog, who I later found out was named Flo, greeting all of the customers with gentle sniffs; three locals discussing the sale of Vineyard 48; and a phone call to the shop that went something like this.

“Unfortunately, we are all out of oat milk at the moment. The only substitute we have is almond.”

When I finally got around to tasting my latte, I immediately found out what dirty. 

Coffee. A dirty chai has coffee. Technically, after a google search, I found out it’s espresso. But, to me, a coffee-hater, it’s all the same. Surprisingly, though, I didn’t hate it. In fact, I finished it. It had a certain element to it, one I can really only describe as a delicate smokiness. Although that could’ve been the fire.

The cinnamon bun completely made up for any animosity I had toward myself for ordering a coffee drink. The outer layers shattered against my teeth to reveal a soft interior. Its sweetness was subtle, but lovely. The crackles stuck to my lips, and I licked them off between sips of chai.

Later on, after I finished my bun and cup, the place was full. Middle-aged men populated the couch, Flo was invading personal space, but the intrusion was always welcomed and the fire was being restocked. Puffs of smoke came out from the brick and threatened to set off the smoke alarm, but after some fanning, it dissipated.

Now, the background music was joined by the snap, crackle, pop of the fire, chatting of old friends and the hum of coffee machines. I melted into the background, and somehow felt like a regular on my first visit.

North Fork Roasting Co. is located at 55795 Main Road in Southold, (631) 876-5450, Have a favorite spot you think Felicia should explore? Email her at [email protected].