Click here for Greater Long Island newsletters. Click here to download our iPhone app.
Suffolk County’s smash-hit Toast Coffee + Kitchen is expanding its island footprint.
Toast owner and founder Terence Scarlatos is hoping to open by summer in the heart of Long Beach, if all goes according to plan.
He says the move comes in response to years of incessant DM’s asking this same question:
“When is a Toast coming to Nassau?!”
“So, I’ve been thinking about Nassau for some time,” he said. “Then I thought, what better place than Long Beach? Much of Nassau comes down here during the summertime anyway.”
Things really got cooking when his friend, artist and project manager in the other Toast locations — Long Beach resident Rob Rothmann — gave Scarlatos a heads up that 20 W. Park Avenue was going up for rent.
Scarlatos checked out the 6,000-square-foot space right away.
A lease was signed last month.
The first Toast Coffeehouse opened in Port Jefferson in 2002, then moved to a larger location in Port Jeff Station in 2022. The Patchogue location opened in 2015. Bay Shore followed in 2018.
Scarlatos wasn’t sure what his plans would be after Bay Shore.
“For me, COVID really solidified my urge to grow,” he said. “I had that moment where I was about to lose everything and I was thinking, ‘Is this it? Is this all I have to say?'”
“And for me it was a resounding ‘No!’ I have to give this a shot and see what I can do with this brand. The communities are asking for it, and I want to be that place for them in the morning.”
(For the uninitiated, Toast only offers breakfast and lunch.)
Each Toast carries a theme. Port Jeff is farmhouse. Patchogue is steampunk. Bay Shore is vintage carnival. Long Beach will carry a 20s theme, as an homage to when the building was built.
In prior interviews, Scarlatos, a Ronkonkoma native and St. Anthony’s High School graduate, said he had romanticized about coffeehouses ever since spending time on the West Coast in the 1990s.
“I traveled for about nine years, I moved to Seattle and then traveled down the coast to Oregon, California, working in restaurants as a cook,” he said. “One of the greatest things about these different places was the coffeehouses, where you could go and have breakfast and meet up with people.”
“Within a couple hours you could find out what was going on that night, what party to go to. It was just something I really took to,” he added.
The existing locations are exceptionally popular. It’s not atypical for people to wait up to 45 minutes midweek. Weekend waits will often top 90 minutes, though staffers suggest going to the Toast website to join the waitlist.
Scarlatos said he thought the crowds would taper off in Patchogue and Bay Shore after the initial buzz of a Toast opening. “But it just kept getting busier and busier,” he said.
“And that’s what I love,” he continued. “The low hum of everybody talking and getting along and meeting up and I feel really proud that we’re able to provide that for people.
“Just making sure everybody feels at home; we’re honored to be part of that.”
Top: Toast Coffee + Kitchen owner Terance Scarlatos last year in Port Jeff. (file photo/Nick Grasso)