Blue Duck Bakery Café owners Nancy and Keith Kouris sent out a release Monday to let the community know they will be closing their Southampton bakery, at 30 Hampton Road, after 19 years of operation there.
Nancy Kouris, who said she was “saddened” to share the news, explained that their building’s new owner, Citarella owner Joe Gurrera, has different plans for the site. A multiple Dan’s Best of the Best-winning business, Blue Duck had been operating month-to-month, without a lease, for more than five years “while previous, perspective and current owners worked out their decisions,” Kouris said.
They recently learned the building was sold after receiving notice on September 1 to vacate within the next 30 days. Blue Duck Bakery’s final day of operation is set for this Saturday, September 15, and the Kouris family are inviting the community to come celebrate National Bakery Day (September 14) so they can thank their customers for nearly two decades of patronage.
“We’re grateful for the support that Southampton has given us,” Kouris said on Monday, noting Blue Duck had its start in the village, over Columbus Day weekend, 1999. “Keith and I are heartbroken we will be leaving our first location that helped us grow and introduce our breads and baked goods to so many,” she wrote in their release, adding over the phone, “That’s where she was hatched.”
Despite the difficult news, Kouris says they weren’t unprepared. “We knew this was coming,” she said. “We hung on for a long time,” but being on a month-to-month lease was stressful and made it impossible to invest in much-needed improvements. “It’s kind of like being on eggshells,” she said.
“We know Mr. Gurrera will finally give the building a much-needed facelift after so many years of neglect and we wish him well,” Kouris continued. “We’re not bitter or anything…We’re sad, but you know, it’s business,” she added. “Things change—what can you do?”
Gurrera was not immediately available for comment, but we will update this article with information about his plans for the building as soon as we get it.
Nancy says she and Keith are considering other spaces for Blue Duck in Southampton, but they had “a prime location” that would be tough to beat. “It’s going to be hard to replace that location,” she said, noting that they’ll take the winter to search for another spot with enough room and a reasonable rent.
“There are lots of vacancies in Southampton, but they’re dry stores,” Kouris said, pointing out that “wet” locations—with a kitchen, sink and restaurant-type facilities—are much harder to find than simple retail stores. Still, she said, “We’ll keep our options open.”
In the meantime, Blue Duck Bakery Café still has three other locations on the North Fork, including Southold (56275 NY-25), where they began a wholesale bread production business in 2008. The Riverhead (309 East Main Street) and Greenport (130 Front Street) locations followed in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
All three North Fork bakeries will remain open to continue serving their customers the European-style artisan breads, pies, unique pastries and more.
To learn more about Saturday’s farewell gathering in Southampton, call Blue Duck Bakery Café at 631-204-1701, or visit blueduckbakerycafe.com.