New coffeeshop, Mugs on Main, to open downtown this spring

Jeff Schaeffer and Kasandra Watkins’ coffee shop will commemorate a lost loved one while celebrating Riverhead’s future.

The couple, engaged to be married this summer, hopes to open the doors of their Mugs on Main coffee shop April 1. They acquired the storefront at 33 East Main St. earlier this month and will fill the vacancy left by Mambo Grill and Lounge.

Their new venture also brings a coffee shop to downtown Riverhead, which has been lacking one since Eastenders closed some 15-years ago. 

Ms. Watkins, a certified coffee master with more than a decade of experience in the industry, said the new downtown spot will serve traditional coffee shop favorites — hot and iced coffees, teas and espresso drinks — as well as some “twists on latte flavors.” Inside, the shop will have a bar, tables and chairs and a lounge with couches and coffee tables.

“Someone can come in and find exactly what they need, whether it be sitting to eat something quick on their way to work, writing and needing space for a laptop or sitting and reading a book in a comfortable chair, we’ll have a spot for everyone,” Ms. Watkins said.

“And we’ll also have outdoor seating, which is pretty unique to coffee shops on Long Island,” Mr. Schaeffer added. “We have a nice deck and a nice patio.”

Mr. Schaeffer, a restaurant industry veteran who opened Peconic County Brewing just down the road in 2021, said the duo are working on a menu that boasts “elevated” offerings.

“We’re going to focus on fresh pastries and muffins and sweet treats up front,” he said. “In the entree world, there will be a lot of really good breakfast items — we’re talking some deep dish pancakes, grab-and-go egg muffins and some vegan breakfast items that seem to be missing in downtown Riverhead. 

“And lunch-wise we’ll have acai bowls, soups, sandwiches,” he continued. “We want it to be casual food that someone might enjoy while having a cup of coffee or they want some place to hang out on their lunch break or something to grab on their way into work or on the way home from work.”

The couple is currently painting their new space, but painters from the local community will add their touches to the decor. They are in talks with East End Arts to host a rotating satellite gallery, which they hope will start with works from children. These works will join water color paintings by Maryann Schaeffer, Mr. Schaeffer’s mother, who died on Mother’s Day last year at age 64.

“It hasn’t even been a year yet, and this kind of all came together as a really nice way to keep her in front of everybody’s mind and get to tell her story,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “My mother drank coffee every day; she always drank it black. Every time you went to her house, that’s the first thing you smelled, and the first thing she offered you. This will be our first Mother’s Day without her, but Mugs [on Main] will represent her hopefully for a long, long time.”

Mr. Schaeffer’s mother’s influence will be felt outside the shop as well. The logo is based on samples of her handwriting, and the abbreviation of its name is “MOM.”

While the shop partly serves as a tribute to her legacy, it is also an opportunity for the couple to influence the future.

“I have a real passion for what I believe downtown Riverhead can be someday,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “Doing the work with the brewery over the last three years, I got really close with the community and thought about the things that will tie together this downtown to make it what everybody wants. I think a coffee shop is a big part of that future plan of what downtown Riverhead should be.”