Restaurant Review: Hampton Coffee Company

I’ve been to the Hampton Coffee Company’s Water Mill location on numerous occasions – it’s one of those places where you can still smell the fresh baked goods and roasting coffee every morning. I often park in my dad’s office space across the street and play Frogger trying to cross Montauk Highway, but the trip is always well worth it.

Which is why, when I arrived at the café on schedule last week and was told that a plate of the signature Tequila Shrimp Nachos had been pre-ordered for me, I couldn’t help but wonder if owner Jason Belkin instinctively knew that it was my favorite item on the menu.

Turns out that Jason simply wanted Dan’s readers to get a taste of what is one of the café’s most popular dishes. Though, I am proud to say that he did recognize me when he came to the table to graciously answer any questions I had. I’m definitely proud to be a real regular.

Now, those nachos… Simply put, they’re the most delicious nachos I’ve ever had, bar none. I don’t think that ‘fresh’ is a word often used to describe nachos, but these chips are homemade and crispy, with melted Pepper Jack cheese, diced tomatoes, jalapenos and shrimp sautéed in Tequila. Not too hot, they’re also the perfect texture and don’t fall victim to the sogginess that too often plagues lesser chips.

If you can make it past the appetizer – which you need to do, despite the generous portion size – Hampton Coffee Company offers a selection of light and hearty lunch options. Inspired by Mexican flavors, items on the menu include fajitas and burritos. There is also a selection of burgers, and breakfast is served all day.

In addition, the café offers a wide variety of fresh sandwiches and salads, including a sandwich of the day, soup, and a popular ‘choose two’ special (half sandwich, small salad or small soup special.) Jason was quick to point out that for the same price as a sandwich would cost at any local deli – about $8 – Hampton Coffee’s varieties include a fresh side salad and a beautiful sit down location. When the weather gets warmer, I always opt to eat on the backyard patio, which overlooks the Green Thumb farmland and is a world away from the highway.

The Hampton Coffee Company is Long Island’s largest independent roaster-retailer. The beans are roasted by hand at the Water Mill location, and the only computer in the roasting room is the label printer. One of the more unique things about the Hampton Coffee Company is its Mobile Espresso Unit, which is a full service coffee purveyor. Jason shared an entertaining anecdote that when much of the East End lost power in the wake of Hurricane Irene, he parked the Mobile Espresso Unit outside of the Water Mill location and, within hours it was certified by the Health Department and serving up cups of joe to people who needed their caffeine fix despite – or perhaps because of – the weather. The hectic day emphasized Hampton Coffee Company’s commitment to providing high-quality coffee in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Hampton Coffee Company also offers a rotating assortment – and free samples – of monthly flavored coffees. Get your sweet fix through February with the decadent Chocolate Cherry Kiss. Come March 3, Hampton Coffee Company will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish Cream flavored coffee. And, I’ll definitely be back to try March’s specialty drink – a green chocolate-mint Leprechaun Latte.

In addition, Hampton Coffee serves tea from the esteemed ‘The Republic of Tea,’ and Jason explained that a growing number of customers are ordering flavored teas as an alternative to dessert. I was not as strong-willed against the army of delicious-sounding treats. I had to sample – make that devour -– the Homemade Mexican Flan. Made with milk, eggs, vanilla and caramel, it’s a must-try.

Hampton Coffee Company is located at 869 Montauk Highway, Water Mill and 194 Mill Road, Westhampton Beach. 631-726-2633. www.hamptoncoffee.com.

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