A new business opened up in downtown Riverhead this weekend.
Vines & Hops is a collaboration between a married couple — a strength and conditioning coach and a physical therapist — who are changing course to sell wine, beer, coffee and Artisan foods.
Jeff McKay of Jamesport is the strength and conditioning coach and massage therapist, and his wife, Christine, is the physical therapist.
“I just didn’t want to do it anymore,” Jeff said in explaining his new venture. “I’ve been doing it for 30 years and I just said, ‘You know what? I’m done.’ So I basically just reinvented myself. People were saying ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this.’”
The McKays hosted a ribbon cutting at the newly opened Vines & Hops, which is located in a storefront on Main Street across from the former Woolworth building.
“We started this whole process back in the spring,” Jeff said. “I think it was in March, we had looked around at a couple of places in Jamesport, and they fell through, which we’re kind of happy about now. Then one day, I told my wife I was going to call around and see what’s available on Main Street. I had gotten in touch with Ike Israel of Richmond Realty and when he told me what they wanted for this, I almost fell off the couch. Back in the 90s, this storefront would have been triple what we’re paying now.”
The McKays quickly went about working on the lease and getting a liquor license. Given the choice of taking their time and opening in the middle of winter or rushing to open at the end of summer, the McKays chose now.
“We’re looking to have entertainment after the Holidays,” Mr. McKay said. “Just an acoustic guitar on weekends. And next year, since the drive-through next door is part of this property, we are looking to do an outdoor beer garden, which will also have wine. And the whole brick facade is going to be a continuous waterfall.”
Vines & Hops has two large-screen televisions on the wall, wi-fi available for computer users and a number of couches for patrons to sit on.
The menu has buttermilk dough slider rolls from Goodale Farms in Aquebogue, filled with flank steak or Buffalo chicken; empanadas with spinach- and goat cheese-filled pocket crusts and other Artisan small plate and dessert bar menu items.
And they have locally made craft beers and wines from the likes of Long Ireland, which is based in Riverhead, Southampton Public House, Pindar, based in Peconic and others. They also sell various specialty coffees and teas, such as latte, cappuccino, and espresso.
Mr. McKay said he’s happy to be a part of downtown Riverhead’s renovation.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter, who attended the ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the site Sunday, concurred.
“I am so happy you’re taking a chance on us, because we will do everything at our disposal to make you a success,” Mr. Walter said.