The crashing summer waves, the waving evening breeze, the softly breaking dawn, they whisper. Can you hear it? It’s the thrill of the build! The 2019 Build-Outs of Summer season is back, and we’re kicking things off the way any sensible city dweller might: by heading to Long Island. Oyster Bay, to be specific, where Southdown Coffee are prepping a second location, fresh off owner/founder Marc Boccard’s top three finish at the 2019 US Roasters Championship. This is a stunning new opening in an historic converted farmhouse, and we can think of no better way to kick off our biggest and best Build-Outs of Summer Season yet.
As told to Sprudge by Mark Boccard.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We opened in 2014 with our shop in the “Southdown” neighborhood of Huntington, NY. Most of the businesses at this small intersection are called “Southdown Pizza, Southdown Laundry, Southdown Market, etc etc,” so that’s how we cooked up the name. Technically I’m the sole owner of Southdown Coffee, though I always say “we” since I still have many people who’ve been with the company since the beginning and it’s such a group effort.
When we opened we were roasting as members of Pulley Collective, eventually purchased an Diedrich IR-12, and are now installing a new 15KG Mill City in our new space in Glen Cove, NY, which will give us *LOTS* more space for production, training, and QC. This year I took home 3rd place at US Roasters Championship which has definitely helped to generate a lot of interest in what we’re doing. In our cafes, we are focused on presenting people with beautifully roasted coffees at high standards of preparation, and maintaining an inviting atmosphere for our guests.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
The new space is in a historic homestead from 1810, which was recently purchased and is being heavily restored by the new owner. Much of the building was in disrepair and I think the general model of renovation was wise, gutting out tiny second floor spaces and creating cathedral ceilings to create a very open and fresh feeling, with plenty of original touches remaining so you still feel the age and character of the space.
Shortly after buying it, the owner reached out to lots of local (LI, NYC) graffiti artists and invited them to write on virtually every surface of the building. It caused a major uproar in the town, but ultimately started a great conversation about what to do with these historic treasures when they’re beyond repair. We’ve kept a few of the pieces and it definitely adds a very cool and unexpected layer of history to the space.
What’s your approach to coffee?
My approach starts with demanding progress from myself and my staff to make sure we’re always working harder at improving ourselves. My greatest failures have always turned into successes as long as I’ve been able to bury my ego and learn from my mistakes. So I guess the answer is that my approach is to keep learning and hope that the customers notice the hard work, which I believe they have!
Other than that, we’re probably not much different from most specialty companies these days, trying to bring in the nicest coffees we can afford, keeping things seasonally fresh and diverse for our customers. We serve pour-overs in the cafes and focus on single origins, though I’m having lots of fun playing with our new espresso blend as well. I start pretty much every day with a cup of batch brew.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
How is your project considering sustainability?
We currently use compostable cups, straws, and packaging in all of our cafes. I’ve been looking into potential parters for carbon offsets for our coffee roasting. We discount coffee purchased with a reusable cup.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
August 1st, 2019
The Build-Outs Of Summer is an annual series on Sprudge. Live the thrill of the build all summer long in our Build-Outs feature hub.