In the heart of Westhampton Beach stands a cheerful European-style building, inviting people in with its sunny yellow awning and colorful flowers. Inside, it is full of tables and buzzing with customers eager to try some of the cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries, coffees and other items on offer. Enter into the world of the Beach Bakery, opened 25 years ago by Simon Jorna on Main Street.
“We are a full-line bakery,” Jorna explained. “This year we did a 2 million dollar renovation.” The building is now more spacious, and they added features such as new equipment and other modern updates. One of the most fascinating additions is a new freezer that freezes dough so quickly that the yeast doesn’t have a chance to rise. Therefore, they can take out small batches and make everything fresh. Customers can also take advantage of 16 new parking spaces. Jorna noted that the smaller bakery was nice, but after many years and strong growth, it was getting too small to serve all of the customers. “You outgrow the place…it happens because you are successful,” he said.
Along with the expansion, there are some exciting updates on the menu. The Beach Bakery now offers “Grand Café” options: eggs, omelettes, sandwiches and salads. Jorna hopes to add even more menu items soon, such as pasta. Probably most exciting is the high-quality gelato they recently added. It is made from scratch. As Jorna noted, “the little details make the difference.”
When asked about his most popular products, Jorna was quick to respond. “You know the croissant donut thing in New York? We’ve been doing it for 25 years.” I tried the Westhampton version of the “cronut,” and it was truly spectacular—crispy outside and fluffy inside, with a jelly accent. I haven’t tasted the popular New York version, but the Beach Bakery must give it some strong competition. My mom and I tried some other items: the black and white cookies are another crowd-pleaser, and theirs was classic and delicious. The chocolate-dipped coconut macaroon was fantastic, and my mom’s favorite was the rich and decadent brownie.
And I have to mention the coffee. As a self-proclaimed “coffee snob,” I am picky about my cup of Joe. Beach Bakery’s was simply wonderful. I tried the breakfast coffee, a lighter roast, which was the perfectly fresh morning cup. My mom tried the darker roast coffee and proclaimed it “robust, with a nutty taste.” Jorna said that customers tend to prefer the dark roast in the afternoon.
Another great aspect of the bakery is that it is open late—in the summer, until midnight every day, and 1 or 2 a.m. on the weekends. In the winter, they close at 9 p.m. “I’m always open,” Jorna smiled. There is live music at the bakery on summer Fridays, and perhaps best of all, a liquor license is in the works. Even during the renovations last winter, and through the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, the bakery never closed. It’s the perfect place to meet a friend, and there are even books and magazines to encourage you to stay a while.
Jorna is a known figure around town. During the interview, a customer approached him and exclaimed, “The restaurant looks great, Simon!” This kind of personal touch is what makes the Beach Bakery so special. Moreover, it is truly a community place, a hub of activity in the center of town. Jorna loves his Westhampton Beach location, citing its relaxed nature, vibrant character and friendly people as his favorite qualities. The new renovations truly make the bakery a staple of Westhampton life: “We’ve always been the anchor store,” he said, “but now we really are the main store in town.”
The Beach Bakery Café, 112 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. 631-288-6552, beachbakerycafe.com.