By Aidan Johnson

After 20 years of residing at 242 E. Main St., Port Jefferson, Toast Coffeehouse has relocated to Port Jefferson Station. Formerly Mr. P’s Southern Skillet, the new location at 650 Route 112 provides a significantly bigger space.

Owners Terry and Jen Scarlatos. Photo by Aidan Johnson

“As we’ve expanded into other locations, our model has changed, and we were struggling in the smaller spot,” Terry Scarlatos, the owner of Toast, explained. 

The Port Jeff location, which was the first venue that Scarlatos ever opened, originally had less than 10 employees, along with family members who helped out. “It was very much a family business with my brother, my wife and my mother,” he said. “I think we had seven employees in addition, and now we have over 160.”

Moving into the new location was no easy feat. The space had housed many restaurants through the years, and each added something new. Scarlatos ended up bringing it back down to the bare walls and studs, replacing nearly everything. 

Lauren Farmer, hostess at Toast. Photo by Aidan Johnson

“It started out looking like it was not going to be much, but as we dug a little bit deeper we realized there was a lot of neglect,” he said.

While the grand opening of the new location was held Wednesday, Aug. 17, there was a soft opening the day prior, supplying family and invited guests with free food and allowing the staff to get into the groove of working at the new location. “So far I feel like we have been well received. We’ve got a lot of positive feedback,” Scarlatos said.

While many are excited for Toast’s new location, some people have been left feeling blue by the departure from the old spot. “A lot of people in the village are heartbroken, as I am,” Scarlatos said. “It was not an easy decision to move, being that Port Jefferson and the village have been so great to me over the years.” 

Waitress Natalie Malandrino. Photo by Aidan Johnson

Operations manager Melissa Reinheimer shared the bittersweet feeling surrounding the move, as there were 20 years of memories baked into the walls of the Lower Port restaurant. However, the new location offers a fresh aesthetic, bringing elements of a rustic farmhouse rather than a coffee shop. 

“It’s super exciting,” Reinheimer said. “There’s a lot of unique touches and historical pieces peppered throughout that I’ve had the privilege of going and finding and sourcing in the Northeast, so it’s nice to have little pieces of America spread out.”

Customers Leon and Sylvia Felsher are ready to order their first meal at the new location. Photo by Aidan Johnson

As friends and family chowed down, everyone seemed in high spirits. Kelly Black, one of the people in attendance, enjoyed cookie dough pancakes, along with a garden gourmet egg skillet. 

“The food is even better when you thought it couldn’t get better,” Black said. “It’s amazing and more comfortable. The decorations are gorgeous, but it still has that cozy feel.”

Even though Toast Coffeehouse may be leaving its original location, Scarlatos is not. He is currently working on opening a new nighttime experience in the Port Jefferson location, which he plans to make into the perfect date spot. He expects this venture to open within five to six weeks.