On Sunday, Sept. 22, a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at Vines & Hops Cafe and Tavern, at 127 East Main Street in Riverhead.
According to the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, which welcomed its new neighbor this week, the festivities will kick off at noon with wine, beer, coffee, small plate food and desserts.
Vines & Hops will serve wine from the North Fork and California, local craft beers and gourmet coffees as well as artisan food prepared by the North Fork Chocolate Company, who will also prepare gift baskets in the café’s gift shop.
The café is filled with comfortable lounge areas, café tables and televisions in the “beer section” to create a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
Owner Jeff McKay describes Vines & Hops as “the place to be for cozy conversation and fun."
McKay and his wife Christine had a dream for their business — to create a place where customers could taste wines, beer and coffee in a place that felt as comfortable as their own living rooms.
"Our menu will complement the beverages we're serving," McKay said. "This is different than a bar or a restaurant in the respect that our menu will be something that isn't offered anywhere in Riverhead."
Artisanal foods prepared by chef Steve Amaral of the Suffolk County Incubator will include wine-infused truffles, pastries and sliders, with candies from the North Fork Chocolate Company. "We'll serve local wines, local craft beer, and local food — everything is going to be local," McKay said.
Food will be designed to be paired with wines and beers, which will change with the seasons. Pumpkin ales will be spotlighted in October and holiday spirits will be on board for the winter months.
"Our menu will change so that it will be a totally different experience for our customers with the seasons," he said. "We wanted to add that diversity to downtown."
The interior of the eatery will allow customers to "sit and relax" after a show at the Suffolk Theater or Vail-Leavitt, McKay said.
Their venture into the restaurant business is a new journey for the couple. McKay works as a massage therapist and strength conditioning coach; his wife has been employed as a physical therapist for the physically and mentally challenged at BOCES in Westhampton Beach.
"We always wanted to get into the hospitality business," he said. "We put two girls through college and we've never had the opportunity before. We're reinventing ourselves. We want to have fun with something different we can offer the public. We're excited."