The upcoming Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices location in downtown Riverhead will have a new neighbor: the Blue Duck Bakery.
The bakery, which has locations in Southampton and Southold, will share the building just west of Cliff’s Rendezvous on Main Street. Construction began at the property Wednesday morning as workers began tearing down the front facade of the building and dividing the inside of the store. Ralph’s is scheduled to be open by April 1, while the Blue Duck Bakery is aiming for a July opening, said project manager and an owner of the property, Herbert Israel.
After opening in Southampton in 1999, the Blue Duck Bakery expanded to Southold four years ago. The bakery delievers fresh bread as far as Brooklyn, and was considering an expansion into Mattituck to bake more bread.
“You can only bake so much between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.,” said bakery owner Keith Kouris in a 2010 interview. Mr. Kouris was unable to be reached for comment.
The building on Main Street was first used as an A&P grocery store in 1949, and was later converted into an antiques store, a furniture warehouse, and an auto discount center. Its front will be moved back 10 feet to create an awning with skylights.
The crews will split the building into three storefronts, with Ralph’s Italian Ices taking up 1,250 square feet on the left side of the building and the Blue Duck Bakery occupying about 2,000 square feet on the right. The construction is expected to cost about $400,000, Mr. Israel said.
The middle, vacant area will be sold as a separate storefront, and has already drawn interest from several potential clients, Mr. Israel said.
“We’re really the new product on the street,” he said. “So it won’t be vacant for long.”