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Aug 10, 2010 5:37 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Coffeeshop opens in Amagansett

Aug 10, 2010 5:37 PM

So-called “pop-up” stores are nothing new to East Hampton, but when Jack Mazzola hurriedly opened an Amagansett branch of his West Village coffeeshop, Jack’s Stir Brew, just before the Fourth of July weekend, he knew he’d be making a bid to be here to stay.

The shop, which has opened in part of the newly expanded Sylvester & Co. space at Amagansett Square, will move into Sylvester’s original location just west of its current site after the summer is over, with a focus on both food and providing an atmosphere where community can grow.

The coffee at Jack’s Stir Brew is reason enough to stop die-hard coffee drinkers in their tracks, thanks to a patented brewing method Mr. Mazzola stumbled upon as a young man.

Mr. Mazzola, whose father ran an auto body shop in Lodi, New Jersey, left home at 16, but first agreed to learn about manufacturing from a relative who built machines that mixed large quantities of food in factories.

When he began traveling, he noticed how people in cultures all over the world stirred their coffee directly into boiled water, much as he had done at home when using a French press. He decided to build a machine that would agitate coffee on a commercial scale and Jack’s Stir Brew was born.

“People have been stirring coffee since at least the early 1800s, but no one ever built a machine,” he said. “It oxygenates it and removes the bitterness. It needs to be gently agitated. It produces a very big, bold coffee. You can really taste the origins. For the Sumatra, for example, you taste the volcanic boldness.”

After patenting the stir brew machine, Mr. Mazzola opened his first coffee shop on 10th Street in the West Village in 2002, where he lived upstairs and opened and closed the shop every day for the first two years. It was during that time that he devoted himself to a family philosophy that would serve him well in business as he opened another shop at South Street Seaport and now in Amagansett.

“The mechanic was over my house for Sunday afternoon pasta. My dad’s clientele was endless, and that was my philosophy,” he said. “I wanted to buy the best products from local purveyors. It wasn’t about being trendy and sustainable. It’s local because I wanted to know them.”

Jack’s Stir Brew was the first commercial client of Hudson Valley Fresh organic milk, after his company had trouble steaming organic milk from another provider because it was too pasteurized. All their coffees are fair trade and shade grown, and Mr. Mazzola’s Aunt Rosie bakes fresh chocolate chip cookies for the store. There’s a gelato bar and fresh sandwiches in the fridge from The Meetinghouse restaurant next door, and idiosyncratic snacks ranging from gogi berries to crystallized ginger. All the coffee is roasted by a small coffee roaster in Rutland, Vermont.

At Jack’s in the city, music and 16mm movie nights are an integral part of the business.

Mr. Mazzola and the Amagansett store’s manager, Molly Kendall, a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who plans to serve pastries and hot food aplenty at the new location this fall, hope to foster that same community spirit in Amagansett.

“The first week here, the front porch was packed with people hanging out talking,” said Ms. Kendall.

Local musicians have already begun to line up to play, and Saturday afternoons are filled with music provided by a local guitarist.

Mr. Mazzola, who recently started a film company called “Fresh Ground Films” and began recording artists for the shop’s “Fresh Ground Music,” hopes to show movies here too.

He’s currently working on a production called “Real New York,” interviews with five New Yorkers who are customers of the 10th Street location.

“We have everyone from a former bouncer at the Ninth Circle, where Andy Warhol used to hang out, to a roadie for The Beastie Boys to the Italian immigrant who sips espresso there every day,” he said.

Mr. Mazzola isn’t stopping at film production. He hopes in the not-so-long term to bring Jack’s coffee to other hamlets in the Hamptons.

“I can’t sit still,” he said.

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Beautifully put together coffe shop ,Good luck and God bless !!!
By Terry mcmullen (23), wantagh on Jul 23, 10 11:21 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just a correction:

Jack's took over Beth's Flowers old place next to Sylvester & Co at Home. Jack's will take over the Essential's store (one of Sylvester's stores). Late 2010/2011 Beth's old place (Jack's current place) will be renovated and the Sylvester & Co at Home store will expand into the current coffee shop.
By splashdown (21), sag harbor on Aug 17, 10 10:35 PM