“I like watching people’s faces when they come in and see the new café,” says Simon Jorna, the impossibly patient and persistent owner of the Westhampton Beach Bakery Café. The café was expanded and renovated in time for summer 2014 and is open year-round. “I’ve been seeing a few confused looks and a lot of ‘wows,’” he noted.
Originally from Holland but a local resident and the owner of the café in Westhampton Beach since 1988, Jorna has finally seen his dream of an expanded European-type café realized with a full liquor license, more seating, a total renovation, a full service bakery and more.
After years of permit delays, Jorna got the okay in 2012 from the town and went to work on gutting and redoing the café, combining three separate lots he owned to create a property of over 13,270 square feet. He finished the work after last season and just before the worst winter in decades. After spending over $2 million, he has completely remodeled the place with a new stone entrance and a layout that now goes all the way to the back of the building. He redid the parking lot in the back to add more spaces and added new landscaping.
New ovens, a gelato machine and large new refrigeration units take up a back corner, filled to the brim with cakes and produce. There are new tables, padded booths, a coffee island, expanded counters with stools, high top tables, newspaper and magazine racks, fresh flowers, artwork, new bathrooms and outside benches for great people watching, even into the fall.
An expanded menu offers a scrumptious hot breakfast, salads and dinner items. Chef Eric Williams mans the grill.
Jorna worked with his kitchen team—now expanded to more than 35 employees—on creating a new menu. Already known for their full line bakery, the café whips up some unique items such as a three king pie (1/3 apple, 1/3 peach raspberry and 1/3 blueberry); and a strawberry shortcake with fresh fruit and real whipped cream. They custom make wedding and multi-tiered cakes for any occasion, in any flavor combination.
Then there is the deep-fried croissant filled with raspberry jam and sprinkled with sugar—think Cronut—which Jorna has been making since 1986 when he was the manager of The Montauk Bake Shop.
“I’ve been making these for decades,” he says with a smile, having studied at baking college in Holland. “I know they have been popularized by the place in New York City, but I found the secret is to fill them after you fry them then roll them in the cinnamon sugar, like a donut. We try and make as much as possible from scratch,” Jorna says.
The Beach Bakery serves up fresh made bagels with lox, smashing blueberry pancakes and an outstanding breakfast huevos rancheros with hash browns made from local potatoes. Since May, the café has been certified kosher.
Lunch and dinner items now include pizza, lasagna, salads and Mexican-inspired plates like quesadillas. But be sure to save room for dessert!
A raised driveway and stairs leading up to a patio on the left of the building are all new, as is the expanded seating and an area for live music.
The café will be open early and stay open late every day, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on the weekends.
Beach Bakery Café is located at 112 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. For more info, call 631-288-6552, or visit beachbakerycafe.com.