Today on Build-Outs we journey to the Long Island suburbs—Glen Head, specifically—home to Flourish, a cafe and bakery with a very cool approach to specialty coffee. This project is still very much under construction—a classic Build-out, and we love it—with an opening date for late summer 2021.
As told to Sprudge by Chelsea Kravitz.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Sure! It's all in the name. Flourish was chosen as the name because I believe strongly that people (and secondarily a business) prosper and grow from a beneficial environment. As someone who has been in the industry for 15 years I have a lot of issues with how things are done “traditionally”. Our goal with Flourish is to do something new, to break the mould and all of the rules. We are doing away with the brigade system in our kitchens in favor of a chef team that will work collaboratively, our entire staff will be paid a fair, living, and equitable wage and be provided with benefits including paid time off, paid sick leave, paternal leave, health benefits, etc. Too often service and hospitality jobs are treated as something as a stepping stone until someone finds “a real job” but we know these are real jobs and need to be treated as such. We also will not be implementing a tipping system because doing so often leads to massive pay disparity often along the lines of race and gender.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
Historically the building was actually the local post office that sat on top of a hill, supposedly there used to be a staircase down the hill that led to peach orchards. I have a couple of cool vintage photos of the historical space. More recently the space was formerly a beloved local dive bar. It was dark and cavernous and operated for 45 years (seemingly not making and updates or changes along the way despite code changes). It also only utilized the main floor of the building, the basement sat full of junk for years. Unfortunately the previous owner allowed the building to fall into complete disrepair and by the time the keys were handed over to me, there were about 15 leaks in the roof, the facade would literally shake when a strong wind blew, ivy had burst through the kitchen window, and everything inside was rotted and covered in mold.
We're currently transforming the entire building top to bottom. The basement will house our bakery kitchen, walk in boxes, staff lounge, office, and dry storage while the main floor will be home to our line kitchen (with a big window so we can get some sun!), two ADA bathrooms, seating for 40 guests in our dining area, and a large counter with our pastry case and coffee bar. We've replaced the roof and insulation, added three 4'x4′ skylights down the center of the dining area and are replacing the old, crumbling facade with glass double doors and a large glass accordion door that will open the entire front of the space up on nice days. I have several friends who are artists and makers whose craft and work will be displayed throughout the space. The overall look will be neutral white walls and white open ceiling, grey stone floors, light maple wood to allow many of our brighter, and more colorful pieces to pop and standout. Lots of plants and bright pastel pops of decor will bring a homey and relaxed feel.
What’s your approach to coffee?
“The coffee always comes from somewhere.” Coffee, like chocolate, spices, and so many other beloved parts of our food and drink culture can be hugely problematic. We value above all else, responsible and ethical sourcing, heading transparency, and doing everything possible to reduce waste of something we value so dearly.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Yes! I absolutely fell in love with the Mavam under-counter espresso machine. The owner, Mike, has been a pleasure to work with and I was fortunately able to visit their production facility pre-pandemic and see how the machines are built and test one out. It will absolutely be the star of our coffee bar. I'm also super excited about our coffee, we will have a custom roast from Favor Coffee exclusive to Flourish. Christina, owner and founder of Favor Coffee is a local and roasts some of the most delicious coffee I've had. We also plan on working with some of our favorite roasters including Tandem Coffee Roasters and Mother Tongue Coffee.
How is your project considering sustainability?
We are aiming to source as much as we possibly can locally and seasonally as well as eliminating food waste, implementing composting for food scraps and utilizing more environmentally beneficial packaging. We also (once safe to do so, thanks for nothing,COVID-19) will have a charge for disposable cups to encourage people to bring a reusable cup, or better yet, slow down for a moment and enjoy their beverages and food at one of our tables or counters. I have spent more hours than I can count researching different “sustainable” or “eco” products and have learned an incredible amount, especially about a lot of the green-washing that happens in the industry. Our goal is not only to make good choices for ourselves and our business but to help educate our guests on sustainability including encouraging our guests to consider consuming less meat by providing a less meat-centric menu overall.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
Late August 2021
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Yes! Chris Zepierri, owner and founder of Make Everything will be building several custom pieces throughout the space, including our signage, custom planter boxed to hang beneath our new skylights, a replica of a vintage bread cart from France, etc. I also had the immense pleasure of collaborating with Cameron Bishop, the artist behind Beau Rush Ceramics to create truly beautiful and unique pastel dream canvases for all of our food and beverages. I also hired Lucas of Top Top Ceramiqués in Paris, France to create hand painted tiles for the front our our counter/bar each one inspired by a photograph of a friend, loved one (and probably too many of my dogs). He is also hand-crafting ceramic pendant light shades for the space that will hang from the open ceiling. Throughout the space many artists we love will be featured and I am assembling a catalogue of all of our makers and artists so our guests can find and support their work as well.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration! This project has been an absolute labor of love and I'm so excited to share it with the world.