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Starbucks

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The Rocky Point Starbucks is up and running, though one local business owner said the drive through line can be a little much. Photo by Kyle Barr

After more than a year of planning, Starbucks has officially opened in Rocky Point. 

Last year, architects and lawyers presented to the Town of Brookhaven a plan to turn the former KFC at 25A and Hallock Landing Road into a Starbucks. 

After it closed earlier this year, construction began on the space, renovating it from a former fried chicken eatery into a coffee serving powerhouse. The building’s footprint hasn’t changed, though the inside and outside exhibit the typical Starbucks look.

And what hasn’t changed is this new Starbucks’ neighbors — which includes two bagel stores minutes away. 

Although the new edition to the community can be considered competition to the mom and pop bagel shops, Jennifer Bell, manager at Fresh & Hot Bagels, said that they haven’t seen too much of a change. 

“It got a little bit slower, but it hasn’t affected us too much,” she said. “We’re different … we sell egg sandwiches and bigger breakfasts — things they don’t sell.”

Anthony Post, the owner Brooklyn Bagels & Café Inc. in Rocky Point just across from the new Starbucks, said they are doing just fine even with the early morning giant on their doorstep.

“I mean, if they want to go in there and spend $7, $8, $9 bucks on a cup of coffee that’s what they’re going to do,” Post said. “They know when they come here, they can get something else.”

The only complaint he has is with the traffic in the parking lot, especially line that now forms in the early morning at the Starbucks drive-thru. That line, he said, can sometimes wrap around in front of his shop, with cars backed up almost into Hallock Landing Road.

Additional reporting by Kyle Barr

A recipient of Stony Brook University Hospital's Starbucks give-back. Photo by Patti Kozlowski

Cup of Cheer

In an effort to give back to the healthcare heroes working around the clock to battle COVID-19, the community has raised more than $18,000 in donations to supply complimentary coffee to all Stony Brook University Hospital staff.

Headed by community members Holly Smugala, Patti Kozlowski, Nicole Volpini and Stefanie Devery, the group started when Volpini’s sister, a healthcare worker at the Hospital, snapped a photo of the Hospital’s Starbucks, which is adorned with photos and positive messages. Instead, said Smugala, something else jumped out at them. 

“We noticed all the staff waiting online for coffee and wanted to do something to give back to them,” she said. 

The women began a social media donation page dedicated to the cause shortly after. The funds donated go towards purchasing Starbucks gift cards at the hospital location, which can be used by any hospital employee that is working during the pandemic, from doctors and nurses to custodians and administrative staff. 

In order to enable healthcare workers of all shifts to be able to enjoy the benefit, the group worked out a plan with Starbucks in which $250 gift cards are used at different intervals during the day to pay for the drinks of any staff member that comes in. 

“We set an initial goal of $1,000, but we reached that in about an hour. Now, we just want to see how much it will grow. We don’t know how long this is going to go on and we don’t want to stop until it stops,” said Smugala. 

Those who are interested in donating to the cause can visit the group’s Facebook page, Starbucks for Stony Brook Superstars. 

“We are so thankful to be able to give back, because [this hospital] has touched all of our lives in one way or another. We are very thankful for everyone at Stony Brook,” Smugala added. 

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The New Starbucks will be located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road. Photos by Kyle Barr

It’s official, Rocky Point will join the rest of the world in having a Starbucks within walking distance.

The New Starbucks will be located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road. Photos by Kyle Barr

Architects and lawyers for Starbucks presented to Town of Brookhaven Aug. 8 the intent to turn the KFC located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road, into a Starbucks. The applicants were granted amendments on two restrictive covenants on the property by the town board, one requiring the parcel to be a KFC, the other modifying landscaping buffers on the property.

Tulio Bertoli, the town’s planning commissioner, said the plans for the 0.554-acre parcel are consistent with the land use plan for the area originally designed in 2012.

Judith Veglucci, the project manager at Melville-based Catapano Engineering who presented project plans to the board, said the total footprint for the building is remaining the same, and the only changes will be exterior facade changes to turn it from a KFC into a Starbucks.

This year's event will feature samplings from Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak

Save the date! The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Dan’s Papers, will host its 11th annual The Taste @ Port Jefferson at the Village Center, 101-A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson overlooking the Harborfront Park and harbor on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 6 to 10 p.m.

This year’s event will feature  samplings from Kilwins. 

In celebration, the chamber has reached out to the greater Port Jefferson restaurant community and will highlight over 20 restaurants and purveyors offering top-quality food tastings and desserts as well as samples of premium liquors, wines and beers. The event, for ages 21 and over, will feature musical entertainment by the popular band 1 Step Ahead. 

As of press time, participating businesses include Barito’s, Bliss Restaurant, C’est Cheese, Costco, Danfords Wave Seafood & Steak, Dos MexiCuban Cantina, Kilwins, Flying Pig Cafe, Haikara Sake, Twin Stills Moonshine, L.I. Pour House Bar & Grill, Locals Cafe, Manhattan Beer, MELTology Mount Sinai, PJ Brewing Co., Port Jefferson Frigate, PJ Lobster House, Slurp Ramen, Starbucks, The Steam Room, St. Charles Hospital, Tuscany Gourmet Market, Uncle Giuseppe’s and The Waterview at Port Jefferson Country Club.

Sponsors this year include St. Charles Hospital, Paraco Gas, Harbor Hot Tubs, Haikara, TGIF Rentals and Fenelon Landscapes. BNB Bank is this year’s VIP Lounge Sponsor Dan’s Papers is the media sponsor.

Tickets, which may be purchased online at www.tasteatportjeff.com, are $70 per person for general admission starting at 7 p.m. and $99 for VIP guests at 6 p.m., which includes early access by one hour, a special VIP lounge with a private seating area, speciality spirits, dishes, wine pours and more. For further details, call 631-473-1414.

A fire broke out at 201 Main Street in Port Jefferson during the early morning hours May 5, putting a serious crimp in plans for caffeine addicts far and wide.

The location, which houses Starbucks on the ground floor and Barito Tacos & Cocktails on the second floor, caught fire early Saturday morning, according to an 8:30 a.m. May 5 Facebook post by Port Jefferson Fire Department Chief Brennan Holmes’ office.

“A good stop was made and damage to the building was minimal with little extension,” the post said.

The department was aided by members of the Terryville Fire Department. Starbucks was open as of Monday morning, May 7.

Rabbi Aaron Benson from the North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jeff Station is drawing guests every Thursday for coffee and free advice. File photo

By Alex Petroski

Outlets for negative feedback are bountiful in 2017 America. One need not look far to find someone willing to tear down or criticize, but for residents in the Port Jefferson, Setauket and Stony Brook areas, finding a friendly face who’s ready to listen and provide constructive advice is as easy as buying a cup of coffee.

Rabbi Aaron Benson of the North Shore Jewish Center in Port Jeff Station began hosting regular “office hours” at Starbucks on Route 25A in Setauket earlier this year, or gatherings to discuss ideas in a comfortable, informal setting which have been dubbed Benson’s “Starbucks Schmooze.” Every Thursday, members of the NSJC congregation, or anyone else with something on their mind, are invited to the coffee shop to visit with Benson between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.

“I always liked the idea, when I was a kid, I really had this in mind, when I would see one of my teachers outside of the classroom it was always like a special treat,” Benson said during his schmooze Aug. 31. “Like, ‘Oh my goodness, they let them out of the box.’ And so I thought in today’s day and age, it would be a nice thing to be able to interact with people not inside the synagogue, to be out there and perhaps interact with people that I don’t know, and the success of it is really just if I meet a few people and connect a few people.”

Benson said typically he has between two and four visitors during a session, though he’s had as many as six guests actively engaged in conversation, and the discussion ranges from politics to relationship advice to current events and everything in between. He said the idea emerged organically because it fit in perfectly with his normal Thursday routine, which always includes a stop at The Rolling Pin, a kosher bakery, in the same shopping center as Starbucks where the rabbi supervises to ensure traditional processes and requirements are followed for the kosher designation. After that he would go to Starbucks for his caramel macchiato, then heads to St. Charles and Mather hospitals, where he volunteers as a chaplin. He decided to work the hour-long schmooze into the routine in January and hasn’t looked back since.

“If I can bounce an idea off one of those vital life questions for somebody then I am happy to help with that.”

— Rabbi Aaron Benson

JoAnne Shapiro, a regular attendee and member of the NSJC congregation, said it’s refreshing to have a personal relationship with the rabbi at her synagogue.

“I think when you think of the term rabbi, even in this day and age, people view the rabbi up there [on a pedestal],” Shapiro said. “And it just makes our rabbi much more approachable … I think the neat thing about this is that you never know what’s going to come out of the visit. It’s neat, it’s sort of like a nice way to start the day.”

Linda Miller, another member of Benson’s congregation, was attending her first schmooze Aug. 31, though she said before she left she planned on sending her husband for advice the following week. She said the visit was worthwhile not only for the advice she got from Benson regarding upcoming Jewish holidays, but also because she had a lengthy conversation with Shapiro, who she said she’d known in passing for years but couldn’t recall the last time, if ever, they had conversed for so long.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Miller said.

Benson said some of the more rewarding sessions are the ones that feature conversations which require very little of his own input. He recalled one schmooze when two attendees spent much of the hour bonding over the watch one was wearing.

The rabbi offered perspective on the importance of seeking help and guidance in challenging times, be it religious advice or otherwise.

“I can’t tell you to believe in particular stories, but everybody in the world has to have a set of stories that tells them about how you decide on priorities in life,” he said. “What do you do when you fall in love? What do you do when you fail? What do you do when you lose someone important? Religion provides those stories for you, but everyone has those sorts of questions. Everyone confronts those sorts of issues and everyone needs help with that. So if I can bounce an idea off one of those vital life questions for somebody then I am happy to help with that.”