Over the last year, passerby on Route 110 in Melville have likely kept tabs on a peaked building rising, brick by beam, in the parking lot in front of Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace. After COVID-era delays, the first of what will eventually be four food tenants moved in this week: Gregorys Coffee, the New York City-based chain that is making an assertive push onto Long Island.
The Melville cafe, with a curved marble tasting bar, a green wall and some funky centerpiece lighting — is the second Long Island location for founder and CEO Gregory Zamfotis, who opened the first in Deer Park barely six weeks ago. As at that grand opening, Zamfotis was very present, and said he was busy plotting "at least" three more locations on Long Island, although he wouldn't say where.
This Gregorys is larger and shaped differently than the lightsplashed Deer Park spot, with a long, narrower dining room, a polished concrete floor and tons of exuberant faux greenery, much of it painstakingly hung by Zamfotis' sister, Kristen Zamfotis. Zamfotis said 12 staffers had been hired or transferred to the new location, with a few reverse commuting from the city.
Zamfotis opened the first Gregorys on Park Avenue South in Manhattan in 2006, when he was in his 20s. The business has since grown to 29 cafes across New York City, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., with almost identical menus of espresso, lattes and the like, plus smoothies, multiple iterations of cold-brew coffee (such as the Honey Badger, with almond milk and honey) and a case full of pastries — doughnuts, muffins, biscotti, power bites — some of which are baked on site. Coffee (from beans roasted at Gregorys' Long Island City commissary) start at $2.70, pastries at $3, and hot sandwiches and snacks, such as The Skinny breakfast sandwich (scrambled egg whites with greens and turkey bacon on a bagel) fall around $4.95 and above.
Melville stakes claim to the chain's Long Island debut of hemp milk, which joins other alt milks such as oat, soy and almond. Food-wise, there are plentiful vegan options, (Zamfotis is "vegan-ish"), from "egg" bites to a vegan deluxe breakfast sandwich made with faux eggs, Beyond Sausage and Daiya cheddar on a vegan croissant.
Eventually, the building where Gregory's resides will also be home to the first location of Cava, a Maryland-based fast-casual Mediterranean chain; Yaas Tea Café; and the westernmost location of Lucharito's, the Long Island-based Mexican restaurant group.
Gregory's is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 874 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville. gregoryscoffee.com