In Bayport, The Golden Sparrow Nourishes a Sense of Community

This market-cum-eatery houses some of Long Island’s best selection of nutritious and vegan eats.

Photo by @yogini.tyrose

The Golden Sparrow is a unique market that offers eco-friendly products, a mini-coffee shop, and delicious home-made, prepared foods that are made fresh daily and sold by the pound. Nestled in Bayport, this whimsical, little market may have you thinking you’ve stumbled into a friend’s living room, and that is the exact vibe that owner Gabrielle Loturco has always been going for. The Golden Sparrow is a community meeting place and everybody here is treated like a friend.

The Golden Sparrow’s menu offers staple smoothies, juices, and breakfast options while the lunch menu varies daily and relies on seasonal fruits and vegetables. Their soups are vegan and include such delicious and unique options likes Root Vegetable and Hungarian Chickpea. The market functions as a general store for local goods and organic products for the home, carrying brands such as Braggs, Mrs. Meyers, Ancient Harvest and Nubian Heritage.

Blueberry muffins. And oh yes.. that's toasted coconut atop #glutenfree #vegan #happy #healthy #bayport #longisland #goldensparrow

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Before opening the Golden Sparrow, Loturco spent several years working at various health food markets. She was looking for a change when she went to a small health food shop in Bayport and enquired about a job. She was told that the shop would be closing soon and the owner suggested that Loturco just take it over herself.

“I had put the intention out to the Universe that I was looking for a change,” she says.

So at the age of just twenty-two, the Universe answered and Loturco recalls that she basically jumped into entrepreneurship without really knowing what the Golden Sparrow would become and without any real business experience under her belt.

“I knew I mainly wanted to sell local produce and coffee, but that was about it.”

As time went on, she experimented by adding food to the menu, keeping true to her mission of providing good, healthy food to customers, while using only organic, consciously grown foods, and supporting other local businesses. The chai tea that Golden Sparrow serves is just one example of supporting another fellow small business.

“It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and call another small business owner to place my orders.”

Three years later, The Golden Sparrow is a thriving addition to its tight-knit community.

Alicia Randolph-Lucchesi is the chef—to me, more like the “creative genius”—behind specialties like the Maple Mustard Salad (massaged local kale topped with roasted cashews and mixed with sweet potatoes and roasted cauliflower) and the Vegan Cahew Filo Pie (layered with flakey crust center-filled with kale, cashew cheese, and herbs).

Good day for a honey latte 🍯 #bayport #longisland #goldensparrow #latte #localhoney #organic #happy #vegan

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“My style of cooking is Golden Chopped. It’s very Zen,” Randoph-Lucceshi says. “I enjoy using what we have and what is in season because food should be fresh and appealing.”

She works on the philosophy that food should be simple, yet elegant, but most importantly, needs to taste good. The menu changes daily and she admits that she rarely plans ahead, taking inspiration from using what is available to her each day.

Oh yes. Alicia kicking ass today in the kitchen as always @pandora108 #bayport #goldensparrow #vegan #delicious

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“I use lots of beans and potatoes and ingredients that are seasonal and local because it’s what’s best for your digestion.”

She views it as a chance to push people to try new foods without getting too weird. Everything is made in-house including dressings, vegan cheese, hot sauces and their own home-grown herbs.

The Golden Sparrow not only feeds its neighbors; it works to educate and entertain them, too. The shop regularly hosts workshops and open mic nights—and, in perfect alignment with the philosophy of the market and its menu—the Golden Sparrow has something for everyone. And everything it has, by design, is open to all.

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Carri Horner works, writes and lives in New York. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.