Specialty coffee should not require a bean-to-brew master class to appreciate it. While many of my colleagues in the craft coffee world may exile me for saying this—the process of making espresso or drip coffee in the third wave is not that far off from how Starbucks makes theirs. This is all to say, no matter how a shop or roaster classifies itself, coffee should be accessible to anyone walking in the door and those too intimidated to even walk in.
And that’s exactly the vibe at Southdown Coffee, now with two locations in Huntington and Oyster Bay, respectively. Mark Boccard, the company’s owner, cut his teeth working coffee shops and roasters in Brooklyn before deciding to head back home to Huntington, where the town deserved another option for their morning brew. Like so many who begin working in the food and beverage industry, Boccard entered slowly, working part-time gigs to supplement his writing career. (We hear you, Mark. We hear you…) While there may still be a novel or song writing itself in his mind, he’s all in for a career in coffee.
The original Southdown location—serving as both a cafe and roastery—opened in September 2014 and the reception was too good to be true. Locals flocked to the cafe, where both coffee and food offerings were substantial. The place to enjoy coffee and tacos (you read that correctly), Southdown’s flagship is more a community meeting spot than a place to sip and run. The reach of the company grew into a small wholesale business and outpost at Cafe Revue inside Huntington’s beloved Book Revue.
The expansion didn’t stop at the borders of Huntington. On Friday, July 14, Southdown finally opened its doors in Oyster Bay across from Town Hall, making it the latest in a slew of the newcomers, like Oyster Bay Crewing Company and Osteria Leana. The company’s newest location is actually closer to what was initially envisioned for the cafe. Their original location “morphed into something else,” says Boccard, as first babies are wont to do. But in Oyster Bay, Southdown brings some much needed light in a town filled with brick and dark clouds of corruption.
Unlike its predecessor, the offerings of the Oyster Bay location are limited to what can be prepared and transported from Huntington. The pastry options are robust, but in place of egg sandwiches and tacos are prosciutto-laden ciabatta sandwiches and locally-made Another Mother granola. According to Boccard, food options will grow and shift overtime as he and his gracious team get to know their new community.
But keeping with his mission to make speciality coffee open to the masses, Boccard added two gateway drinks to the menu—the Coconut Creemee, a frozen, decaf coffee brewed mixed with coconut milk and agave, and the Granita, much like the tradition drink but with a mix of decaf and caffeinated coffees and sweetened with simple syrup. The way Boccard sees it, a kid walking from the high school to the football field can get a taste of these well-crafted drinks, slowly learning more about the process of brewing coffee, and move through the menu, landing on a single origin brewed with an Aeropress or Chemex.
Open daily, stop in for the La Huella espresso, a creamy, washed Javanica varietal, or a drip of Wilmer Cuellar’s Colombian beans; and under no circumstance should you sleep on the Creemee.