Owners of the Blue Duck Bakery Café have a full menu of festivities scheduled to celebrate the grand opening of their third location in downtown Riverhead next weekend.
The grand opening kicks off Friday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Dec. 16 at the bakery's new location at 309 East Main Street.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Friday at 2 p.m.
The bakery will be offering samples of baked products, nationally recognized artisan breads, and café offerings of soups and sandwiches through the weekend.
Fun for all, there will be visits from the big Blue Duck on Saturday and Sunday afternoons; WLNG Radio will be broadcasting live on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to show their “Best Cake Face” for a picture.
The Blue Duck Bakery Café was first opening in Southampton in 1999 by owners Keith and Nancy Kouris, who aimed to bring an old-fashioned bakery to the village and offer European-styled artisan breads.
In 2008, the bakery expanded to its second location in Southold.
The Blue Duck Bakery wholesales its artisan breads to restaurants, grocers, gourmet shops and farmers markets from Montauk to Manhattan daily and deliver daily to Whole Foods Markets and Union Markets in the New York and Long Island area.
In August, Saveur Magazine named The Blue Duck Bakery Café one of the nation's “Best Bread Bakeries” and called the bakery's Finnish Ruisleipa bread one of the best breads in the country.
Last month, the Blue Duck Bakery Cafe celebrated its soft opening in downtown Riverhead.
In he was planning to set up a third location in downtown Riverhead.
The Riverhead Industrial Development Agency officially approved the Blue Duck Bakery Cafe on April 2 as the second tenant to occupy the three separate retail spaces at 309 East Main Street; Ralph's Italian Ices opened in April and is right next door.
The Blue Duck outfits 2800 square feet of space with the assistance of an approved sales tax exemption for building materials and equipment.
Earlier this year, the IDA approved a request for assistance by property owners Mirah Max, LLC, to renovate a 6500 square foot, vacant building that existed on the site and to create three new and separate retail spaces, to attract new, small businesses to the area.
To facilitate the process, the Community Development Agency provided approximately $15,000 from the New York Main Street Program, a reimbursement program administered by the New York State Office of Community Renewal.
Ike and Richard Israel, Mirah Max principals reduced the building footprint, set back the façade, and exposed the original brick fascia to create a new entrance to the three storefronts.
IDA Executive Director Tracy Stark-James said because the building is in a designated urban renewal area, assistance was offered to the developer through sales and mortgage recording tax relief and by temporarily holding an assessment for five years -- allowing for more reasonable startup costs. Businesses renting the retail spaces are also eligible for sales tax exemptions to help out the shops with equipment.
The goal is to bring new small specialty shops and an influx of jobs into downtown Riverhead. The Blue Duck Bakery Cafe expects to offer 12 to 15 jobs; Ralph’s Italian Ices will need 20 employees by the end of their second year.
“That’s a lot of jobs in a little space for our local families,” said Stark-James. “This is a fantastic example of how public and private partnerships can assist in attracting unique retail operations to our downtown. The larger buildings that currently subdue most of Main Street don’t foster quaint, unique businesses that are naturally and mutually cohesive to a strolling, downtown neighborhood district, which we are striving for.”
The IDA’s mission is to attract new businesses to Riverhead and to help existing Riverhead businesses expand their operations and remain in Riverhead.
"We're very excited," Kouris, who lives in Aquebogue, said in February. "We really believe in the downtown area.”