By Christine Sampson
It took about 233 days — many of them filled with uncertainty as insurance claims were filed, building plans were reviewed by the village and construction took place — but SagTown Coffee has finally reopened its doors following the big Main Street fire on December 16, 2016, that gutted the coffee shop plus the Sag Harbor Cinema lobby and several other businesses and apartments.
The popular java joint quietly opened its doors on Saturday, August 5, but word spread quickly, and soon enough, the café was jumping with customers indoors and spilling outside into the alley.
“It’s really great,” Shane Dyckman, SagTown’s owner, said by phone on Monday. “Everyone’s congratulating me, bringing me gifts. I’ve never had a more welcoming feeling in my life. The whole community is standing behind me and there are lots of new faces, too.”
The café has a revamped, modern, airy look and a brand-new menu that goes beyond the coffees and premade sandwiches it was serving before the fire. Expect to find freshly made salads, sandwiches, pizza and acai bowls and smoothies in addition to the coffee products, plus cold brew coffee and iced lattes on tap.
“We basically wrote one of the simplest menus we could to get it going and execute it properly, and it will change as the seasons change,” Mr. Dyckman said. “Our idea is to get a healthy, locally sourced menu.”
Cory Clark, the general manager, who arrived at SagTown with a background in clothing retail management, highly recommends the “black and tan.” That’s half draft latte, half cold brew iced coffee, which has a bit of an extra kick to it.
“That’s something no one else in town is doing,” he said.
Mr. Clark explained the reason why the shop’s opening was kept so quiet was the food menu.
“With all the new things, we wanted to make sure we did it right, so we took it slow,” he said. “The response has been very positive, and I think we got it right.”
Regular customers started returning, and found many of the same baristas back behind the counter to take their orders.
“Everybody was hanging in there for me,” Mr. Dyckman said. “They were rotating into my Montauk location, every other day. Everyone’s been busy helping set up for the past week or so. We’ve got my great staff back, with a few additional members.”
The coffee shop is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. A new SagTown retail store on Main Street proper, which replaced the Collette Luxury Consignment storefront, sells shirts, bags, mugs, coffee beans, shot glasses and more.
“I may have gone a little overboard ordering merchandise, but it will be fine,” Mr. Clark said. “It’s nice to see someone walking down the street with a Sag Town bag.”
Sitting outside the shop at the familiar black metal tables on Monday, Ozier Muhammad, a visitor whose last trip to Sag Harbor was five years ago, described the newly rebuilt SagTown space as “more upscale.”
“I thought it lost some of its intimacy. I was sort of taken aback, but the coffee is good, the service is good and the people are very friendly,” he said.
The new SagTown got a rave review from Sag Harbor resident Breahna Arnold, who frequented it before the fire.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I’m looking forward to trying their food and I love their nice, open floor plan.”
Mr. Dyckman said his feelings about reopening are all positive.
“My favorite part is I’ve got my business back open and I don’t have to go and buy a cup of coffee anymore,” he said. “I’m kidding. My favorite part is that it’s a spot to have the community come. It’s incredible how much it was missed.”