Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bellport, New York has Charlie Rose and Isabella Rossellini why can't it get a decent coffee shop?

Once upon a time, cranky Bellport had a coffee shop called Kitchen + Coffee which served decent breakfast, lunch and a kind of take out dinner set up. It was hardly perfect; a tad too rustic, cranky, somewhat unsociable regulars and a menu that was a tad overpriced (in other words a perfect reflection of Bellport). Despite these shortcomings, it was the heart of Bellport (too bad nobody seemed to notice at the time). In any event, circumstances that seemed murky caused Kitchen + Coffee to cease to be...Many months passed and the Sugar Loaf Cafe opened in 2006.

The place seemed an immediate improvement; a higher end menu, better lighting, better seating, a renovated dining room, a friendlier, possibly happier staff with a Brazilian chef (a Chef!) who it was said had worked in some of the finer places out East.

And then, nothing. The place simply didn't catch on. It might have been too slick for the locals (who seemed to gravitate to the Bellport deli about a 1/2 block down), possibly too expensive and the food might not have lived up to the hype that accompanies a sophisticated chef...

Flash forward to 2009 and the Sugar Loaf cafe is no more-Again, somewhat murky rumors (it was too expensive to keep open, it was losing money) surrounded its demise. For whatever reason, it has left a gaping hole on Main Street which seems to have genuinely hurt the morale of the town.

The solution? Let a big chain like Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks move into Bellport. These chains are in Patchogue, Sayville and Bayport just next door. I suspect that there is a whole world of red tape that might block this notion and the cranky old school Long Island pessimism might bemoan even the thought of this. Still, Bellport needs something that is a juggernaut and will simply bulldoze any personalities, grudges and agendas...A big chain is programmed to succeed and so far Bellport's coffee shops seem calibrated to implode...

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...


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