by Denise Civiletti
Another Main Street storefront has been rented.
Vines and Hops — offering craft beers, local and California wines and gourmet coffees, paired with artisan foods — will be opening at 127 East Main Street next month.
Neither bar nor restaurant, the cafe will be a unique, comfortable and upscale environment and — located across from the Suffolk Theater — the perfect place for an after-the-show nightcap, says proprietor Jeff McKay of Jamesport.
Vines and Hops will serve chocolates, truffles, pastries, cheeses and flatbreads.
McKay said he's "hooked up with the North Fork Chocolate Company, which will be bringing in food from the Calverton incubator."
"My wife and I have been thinking about this for years," said McKay, a lifelong resident of the Town of Riverhead. "I think this is the right place at the right time."
McKay said he and his wife, Christine, have always wanted to get into the hospitality business. They looked in Jamesport for space to rent and had in the past scouted out locations on Main Street. But last time he checked downtown, in the 1990s, the rents "were through the roof," he said.
Rents are much more reasonable now, McKay said. "We were surprised, and felt we had to take advantage of this opportunity."
McKay was painting the walls of his cafe Tuesday afternoon, aided by his daughter, Yvonne, a college student. His parents, sister and nephews were on hand to help, too.
The decor will be warm and "very European," he said, as he applied wine-colored paint to the walls of the 2,200-square-foot store.
Furnishings will divide the interior into sections, according to the beverage being served, McKay said. There will be stand-up cafe tables in the front "beer section" and two-seat cafe tables along the west wall. Comfortable couches and chairs will be placed in sections for wine and coffee consumption.
"Couples can meet up and the guys can hang out in the front, enjoy some local craft beers and watch a game on TV, while their wives can sit on couches, enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, and chat," McKay said.
Menus will change with the season, McKay said.
An August grand opening is planned.
Photo captions: Jeff McKay and his daughter, Yvonne, apply paint to the walls of the store at 127 East Main Street, where he and his wife, Christine, plan an August grand opening for Vines and Hops cafe.
RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti