Almost from the day that St. James' Soul Brew opened in November 2016, it was very busy, "a monster from the beginning," said co-owner Kristin Walsh, then 24. A good monster, though: So many people showed up for coffee, breakfast plates and sandwiches, week after week, that the owners replaced couches with more tables and chairs to accommodate the wave. "We weren't expecting it," Walsh said.
Three years on, Walsh and her partners, Jeff and Nicole Petrocelli, have opened a second coffee shop in Huntington, and one that Walsh said more closely mirrors their conception of the original Soul Brew: Intimate and laid back, a place that brings together coffee, art and live music.
Huntington's smaller Soul Brew opened earlier this month in the storefront where Kiss My Cake closed last winter, and is a vibrant room with local artwork on the walls (which rotates each month), a few tables and a cozy, pillow-topped bench in the front window. At its center is a counter slinging coffees made with Stone Street Coffee drinks and taking orders for breakfast and lunch dishes, some with unexpected twists.
Back in January, when the owners began planning their second Soul Brew, Walsh said it might resemble "a secret hiding place," and while the New York Avenue cafe feels somehow tucked away, it had the kind of steady stream that suggests the handful of tables might fill quickly. Chef Kelvin Rosales commands a menu that riffs on familiar dishes from the original location, including breakfast burritos, avocado toast on multigrain bread, egg sandwiches, pancakes, an egg topped quinoa-and-vegetable bowl and a breakfast panini of scrambled eggs, turkey, cheddar and strawberry jam on sourdough, called Bird is the Word. Lunch rotates to wraps, panini, and salads — a falafel wrap, a blackened tofu sandwich and a chicken salad melt among them. Some pastries, such as croissants and scones, are baked here, while muffins are not; breakfast plates start at $6.95, and lunch dishes at $7.95.
On the wall in Huntington is a celestial-looking mural swooning over a mug of coffee, a riff on the original mural in St, James. "The one in St. James is called Lady Brew, and this is Hunny Brew," Walsh said, and then suggested there would be a mural in each location.
There's more to come?
"We want to keep bringing Soul Brews to different communities," Walsh said, mum about the next locale.
Soul Brew is at 387 New York Ave., in Huntington, 631-470-4607. Soft opening hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. soulbrew.coffee.