On The Rock: Stars Cafe is a little coffee shop that has it all

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Whether you’re looking for an ambience where you can enjoy breakfast or simply picking up coffee on your morning commute, Stars Café is open to serve everyone on Shelter Island.

Owned by Islanders Pepe and Lydia Martinez, Stars Café is upbeat; as fast-paced as a typical New York City café would be, while still maintaining a small-town feel. This family-owned and operated business, now in its eighth year, has become a favorite spot among locals and vacationers alike. It’s a place where they can come and enjoy gourmet coffee, breakfast, lunch, and authentic Mexican cuisine, all at affordable prices. In the summer you can sit out on one of their sidewalk tables and watch people and cars go by — it’s one of the busiest corners on the Island.

Their coffee is Fair Trade and organic, specially roasted by Mr. Martinez himself. Both he and his wife believe that using Fair Trade products is important, not only for the environment, but also for the hardworking farmers trying to earn a living.

In addition, they also serve up breakfast classics: eggs, waffles and pancakes and also offer Mexican-inspired breakfast burritos, which were an “instant hit,” according to Mrs. Martinez. When asked which breakfast menu item is the most frequently ordered, the couple both smiled and said, “the Devil’s Burrito. It has everything on it.”

For lunch, the menu features deli-style sandwiches like BLTs, paninis, wraps, salads, soups and lunch burritos.

Though they are most known for breakfast and lunch, Stars Café also offers catering options, and will stay open late for dinner when summer gets into full swing. “It gets busy here, so we decided to create a dinner menu for Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the summer,” Mrs. Martinez explained. The dinner menu allows the couple to serve up traditional Mexican food and share some of their favorite dishes with customers.

For the health-conscious, you can find healthy options here as well. Beneath the coffee shop, they have expanded the basement into a juice bar and gift shop, selling everything coffee related, including the delicious blends they roast each morning. The juice bar, which opened last year, serves up made-to-order juices and fruit and vegetable smoothies, using all organic ingredients. This year, they plan to expand and open a candy and ice cream bar downstairs as well. Mr. and Mrs. Martinez are dedicated to providing customers with more than just good food, but healthy, green options as well.

The family is looking forward to another busy summer and can’t wait to start serving dinner again. “We’re here for the locals and we love the community,” said Mrs. Martinez. “We used to live in Southampton but Shelter Island has really become our home. We love it here.”

This love for the Island can be seen by stopping by this little shop. It radiates from the laid-back atmosphere, family-orientated owners and aroma of home cooked meals.

Stars Café is open year-round and is located at 17 Grand Avenue, Shelter Island Heights. They can be reached at 631-749-5345.

Photo by Tara Smith