A sign near the kitchen reads, “Be amazing today. But first, coffee.” If that sounds a little kitschy, it fits right in with the family photos and tchotchkes decorating the walls at RS Beanery, the coffee-shop-slash-cocktail-bar that opened quietly at the north end of Merrick village last Thursday. It also appears to encapsulate the spot’s operating ethos.
The cafe’s name is a nod to RS Jones, the lively Southwestern-themed restaurant that Margaret Mueller operated in the space from 1993 to 2019. In those days, Mueller ran the place with her partner (in life and business), chef Carole Mueller. This time around, she’s partnered with her sister Marjorie Mueller, who is handling the cooking.
By day, visitors can step inside the cozy, wood-walled lounge for handcrafted coffees; barista Matt Robertson roasts super-fresh, in-season beans twice weekly, then spins them into cappuccinos, macchiatos and lattes behind the bar. There’s also creamy, nitro-tap cold brew, regular cold brew and artisan teas.
Morning eats include grab-and-go snacks such as overnight oats and parfaits, along with griddled egg sandwiches by Marjorie, who owned a Wantagh deli before signing on to open RS Beanery.
For now, lunch brings spinach salads topped with boiled eggs; hot panini stuffed with turkey and stuffing or pesto chicken, and a rotating array of wraps.
Once the liquor license clears (“within six weeks or so,” Margaret predicts) a more elaborate evening menu will proffer “sloppy tots” blanketed with mozzarella and turkey gravy, and “six shooter” sliders built around RS Jones’ long-loved marinated skirt steak. The steak was RS Jones’ “biggest seller every night,” Margaret said.
Cocktails will be crafted with a handful of high end liquors and served along with boozy treats such as a “deconstructed” affogato (vanilla bean ice cream served with espresso and a cordial to pour over) Irish coffee, Mexican coffee, and other spiked caffeine fixes. “This is not a bar,” Margaret said, “it’s coffee and cocktails.”
All can be taken inside on plush leather couches, or on the cafe’s sidewalk and backyard patios.
So far, Margaret said she’s had no trouble filling the seats, pandemic be damned. “People are just so excited to have a place in Merrick to go get a cup of coffee and hang out,” she said. “I’ve been working 12-, 13-hour days, and every morning, I wake up rejuvenated, like, OK! Let’s go.”
RS Beanery is now open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday — Friday; and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday. 153 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, 516-208-3538, rsbeanery.com.
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