Business

Wading River artist’s mural adds colorful background to Brekky’s new café

Brekky, the Wading River café that closed temporarily in October, reopened last week in a new nearby location — one with a decidedly sunny ambiance. 

Owner Marty Accardi said that when he rented the original shop in September 2016, the “tiny little space” — less than 300 square feet — was a perfect size to start with, and it opened the following May, largely as a takeout spot. By the end of his first year in business, however, Mr. Accardi noted that the café was catching on and that expansion would be inevitable.

“Obviously, I didn’t want to leave because I loved being down there by the pond,” he said of the original location at 6 Sound Road. “It felt homey; it felt like we were part of the community rather than being in a brick-and-mortar shop on Main Street.”

A slightly larger space went on the market a couple doors down — where North Fork Bacon and Smokehouse closed in 2018 — but local businesses were about to enter their slow season. Summer had ended and Mr. Accardi decided to hold off. 

The next summer, that same property was still available and Mr. Accardi began negotiating with the landlord with an eye toward relocating his self-described “neighborhood coffee shop.”

An early riser, the Ridge resident enjoys a nice sunrise and said he recently discovered how beautiful the first light is when looking out from Wading River Beach. While decorating the new shop, Mr. Accardi and his wife began talking about ways to fill empty space, including a large wooden wall. His wife suggested that he get someone to paint a mural of a sunrise. Mr. Accardi took to a Facebook community page to recruit prospective artists, focusing his search on students.

“I didn’t get a great response,” he said. “And then four or five days after I posted it, Dylan [Gaches] messaged me. He was like, ‘Hey buddy, I live in the community, I love your shop, I’d love to do it.’ ”

Mr. Gaches, 26, moved to Wading River with his girlfriend in October 2018. He is a certified physical education teacher, currently supervising in-school suspension at William Floyd High School. His passion, however, is art.

“My grandfather was an artist, so I kind of followed in his trail,” said Mr. Gaches. “I always thought to myself, ‘I want to be a self-taught artist.’ ”

He did not attend art school, and says art is a very hard concept to teach.

“As far as shading goes, mixing paint, that’s all important,” he said, “but after you learn all the basics, I feel like it’s an open world and there is no wrong.”

Mr. Accardi said he was thrilled when Mr. Gaches reached out about the mural.

“As it turns out, he happens to be best friends with my nephew’s wife’s brother,” Mr. Accardi said. “They grew up together, so it was kind of a connection that came roundabout … like a six degrees of separation kind of thing. … He’s just a very friendly guy and we talk a lot when he comes in.”

Using acrylic paint, spray paint and oil markers, Mr. Gaches painted directly onto the wood wall in orange, brown and yellow hues. Work began Jan. 3 and was an all-day affair, with Mr. Gaches spending nine and a half hours on the skyscape ahead of the shop’s Jan. 15 opening.

Typically a mixed media abstract artist who focuses on bright colors and bold lines, Mr. Gaches said he wanted to create something that could connect his style with Brekky’s.

“Marty, he knew the style of my artwork, had a lot of faith in me and just said, ‘I want something to revolve around sunrises,’ ” said Mr. Gaches. “He’s a big morning person and I went through his Instagram before I even started sketching up the idea for the mural and all I saw were photos of sunrises. So I would sit down at the beach in Wading River, watch the sunrise for a little bit and then get a good idea of how I wanted to go about it.”

Mr. Accardi said he’s very thankful to Mr. Gaches for his work.

“I think it’s amazing,” he said. “Almost everyone that comes in is like, ‘Oh, it looks so great.’ They ask me who did it.”

Since Mr. Gaches’ Instagram handle is tagged on the mural, he said he has been receiving positive feedback and is notified every time someone tags him in a photo.

“It’s great to see people in the community interacting with my painting, not only just supporting Brekky as a business, but going down and supporting me as an artist,” he said. “The biggest thing with art is I feel like you just have to find your own unique pattern and style, and that kind of just makes you stand out, and I think I’ve found my own.”

Going forward, Mr. Gaches has group shows scheduled and a potential Times Square-based solo show in the works. Brekky now has indoor seating — and a quality espresso machine, which Mr. Accardi said is a huge addition to the shop.

Brekky, located at 2 Sound Road in Wading River, is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.