Grindin' it out: Brockport's new local cafe is a hit
Cross over the canal, go around the roundabout to West Avenue, and you’re there: Grinds 122 Café.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot sandwiches, scones, cookies – and now Friday and Saturday dinners and full entrees – this new coffee shop, opened in May 2016, is already moving forward to expanding the business. Its first few months of business have been going smoothly; cutting customers’ ties to Dunkin’ Donuts and other large coffee franchises, Grinds hopes to create a temporary home and family atmosphere for visitors when they step through the door.
A fireplace next to a cozy, soft-seating area, Edison lights hanging down above the seats and a dim glow throughout the cafe, among the smell of Finger Lakes Coffee roasted beans, gives Grinds the intimate cafe feel Mike Grasta was looking for.
Grasta, in-house manager and co-owner, is not new to managing, but he is new to managing a food business. Even with experience in culinary work, he expected hurdles for his first year as many restaurant owners do and has been met with learning experiences along the way. Maintaining product, advertising and marketing, as well as acting as the “face of the business,” he’s finding that the work fits his suit pretty well.
“The community has been great,” Grasta said. “Our regular customers have been great. Word is spreading and we always have new customers in the door every day. I would say it’s going as it should be. The first year or two is always expected to be tough. But we’re on the right track … There are still people who come in from Brockport and they say ‘oh wow, I never knew this was here.’ I’ve been here six months.”
The Grasta family, Mike, his father Carl and brother Anthony, also own the Autumn Woods apartments and have lived in the Greater Rochester area for years.
With his local background, he’s become familiar with the Village of Brockport’s downtown business district, filled building-to-building with local shops. Supporting regionally based stores and markets has always been important to Grasta’s lifestyle and encourages the community and The College at Brockport students to do the same.
“A lot of people come in here with their travel mugs and get free refills on Mondays; it’s cheaper,” Grasta said. “I’ll stand by our products. What we put out you can’t really get at a drive-thru … when people come, even though it might feel like a rush during the lunch hours, I always try to make people feel at home.”
Grasta’s preferred dishes? A caramel macchiato (two shots of espresso, steamed milk and caramel flavor) and a French onion roast beef (beef roasted in-house at Grinds). Declaring his Cuban sandwich as the best in town, Grasta is hoping to expand on his menu. Friday and Saturday dinner nights, from 5 to 8 p.m. are now being offered as he looks toward expanding Grinds. Hoping to soon create a rental space with barn doors and a similar cozy, comforting atmosphere, Grasta sees a bright future for Grinds and hopes students will find their way out to get a little taste of home.
“I would like for the college students to take the extra few steps to come check us out rather than doing their convenient, original thing,” Grasta said. “Like I tell my workers, possibilities are endless here. If a college student says ‘I’m from Ithaca and I go to this coffee shop and they do this, this and this for me,’ I’m going to do this, this, this and that. I want the kids to feel accepted, feel local, feel like they run the joint.”
Bring in this article to Grinds 122 Cafe, 122 West Avenue, in Brockport, and get 10 percent off your entire order.
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