I don’t think I know a single teacher of small children who doesn’t appreciate a good jolt of caffeine, especially when it’s got some extra luxury blended in. Therefore, when it comes to holiday gifts for teachers, caregivers, hairdressers and all those folks who help my life run more smoothly, I like to include a $5 gift token (or two) for my favorite local coffee house, Massapequa Perk in Massapequa Park. Not only can the recipients get a fabulous cup of small-batch craft-roasted coffee (mostly) Fair Trade, (often) organic, from high-altitude regions of Africa, Central and South America and Indonesia (on average 15 countries are represented at any given moment) or any of up to 30 different loose teas, but they can also accompany their cuppa with scones, brownies and croissants baked daily by independent Massapequa bakers. And the biggest bonus is they can also stick around for hours, sinking into the comfy leather couches, reading, chatting and soaking up the coffee house vibe.
Opened in 2008 by Lisa DiBenedetto and Lucky Fortunato (who have the most auspicious names I have ever heard of!) when they decided for once and for all to quit the corporate jobs they hated, Massapequa Perk, right across the street from the train station, has become a buzzing center of happy encounters: folks line up for their morning joe for the commute, moms drop by after dropping off the kids, local employees take their breaks there.
The holiday season is especially lovely at Massapequa Perk, beribboned, sparkly and especially busy. “Now that the teenagers and young people are back from college, this is definitely a meeting spot,” says DiBenedetto. And folks getting on the train to see the Rockefeller Center tree and a show at Radio City Music Hall fuel up there first. They might pick up a gift of coffee or an ornament for someone or, like me, buy loads of gift tokens to have on hand and take a little break to sit and talk with my six-year-old, who is especially partial to the mint hot chocolate with lofty pillow mountains of whipped cream. Gifts from Massapequa Perk keep my dollars in the community and make everyone happy.
Massapequa Perk 117 Front Street, Massapequa Park 11762
Open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends