For his second act, Mark Boccard has cooled the coffee down, way down. At the new Oyster Bay location of his Huntington shop, Southdown Coffee, he has introduced coffee granita. (Granita is what Italians call Italian ice.)
Two versions of the mixture spin side by side in a slushy machine located just behind a bustling coffee counter, an icy caffeinated one and a more kid-friendly soft-serve granita that’s decaf.
Southdown Oyster Bay opened Friday across the street from Oyster Bay Town Hall in a historic building that Boccard renovated to show off some of its original flourishes, including exposed brick on the facade. The new shop is smaller than the mother ship, with 10 seats and no kitchen. You won’t find egg sandwiches here, but there are baked goods and pressed sandwiches shipped daily from Huntington along with croissants from Fiorello Dolce.
The coffee is roasted in Huntington and is used for a complete menu that includes pulled espresso drinks, cold brew and pour overs. The granita, however, is exclusive to Oyster Bay. Boccard says the drinks were inspired by his college days studying abroad in Rome where he had his first granita at Tazza D’Oro, the legendary coffee shop near the Pantheon.
“When I was there, one of my professors showed it to me,” Boccard said. “That was my favorite thing. When I brought somebody for a tour of Rome, if someone visited me, I would get them a granita cafe and we’d sit on the steps of the Pantheon and we would eat that.”
His traditional granita is made with iced coffee sweetened with simple syrup. The creamy version blends coconut milk, agave and decaf espresso. Either can be topped with freshly whipped cream from Battenkill Valley Creamery upstate, and both cost $4 plus $1 for whipped cream on top.
Southdown Coffee, 49 Audrey Ave., Oyster Bay, southdowncoffee.wordpress.com, no phone