When Bryan Baquet started to roast coffee in January 2011, he did so with little fanfare, and Gentle Brew took up residence at a little-trafficked address in Hicksville. There were no tables and no food, just freshly roasted coffee to buy in bags, or to be brewed to order. Hours were variable. But word got out about the shop, whose twin goals were to educate consumers about coffee and to support sustainable, organic coffee farming.
And now: Gentle Brew 2.0. This full-scale coffee shop has its grand opening tomorrow in the center of bustling Long Beach. Baquet and his partners, Mike Shcherbenko and Patrick Luyster, had been selling coffee at two Long Beach farmers markets and had developed a local following. “It seemed like there were a lot of people around here who were looking for this — a place where you could get a real, authentic product,” Baquet said. (Gentle Brew will continue to sell coffee at the Long Beach farmers markets, as well as at the markets in Huntington, Kings Park, Roslyn, Babylon, East Islip and Northport.)
The new shop has pastries, seats, regular hours. (5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends). Coffee is still the main event, though, with everything roasted on the premises. In addition to pulled espresso drinks, you can have your joe dripped, auto-dripped or cold brewed.
Gentle Brew is at 151 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-605-2370.