It takes courage to open a new retail store in the middle of a pandemic. I met one such couple today and am happy to report that both they and their wares are wonderful. We need to celebrate and support local businesses.
My friend Jaime alerted me to a new hot sauce store so I rode my motorcycle to Sayville today to check it out. The store, "Sayville 'N Spice," opened last month and it's terrific. I met the owners, Matthew and Lauri; they're lovely people. Matthew is an architect and has an office upstairs in the same building.
While I was initially attracted to the 220 varieties of hot sauces, I was utterly enraptured by the other side of the store which displays 100 big jars of fresh spices. Among them are interesting, exotic seasonings like black lava salt, smoked peppercorns and tandoori spice masala. Ingredients like these make everyone's cooking better; plus, they're fun to play with. Best of all, the store sells its spices in any quantity you want -- including small amounts like one ounce so you can experiment without committing to a large jar.
I picked up some za'atar and dukkah which are Middle Eastern blends that taste great when sprinkled on bread with olive oil. I also replenished my supply of smoked paprika which adds flavor to any sauce. I also discovered another neat product: a portable fire log that starts easily, can by carried by an attached rope-handle and is made from pure Minnesotan wood. I bought one to try in my backyard.
The store is in a classic building that's a local landmark. Matthew renovated historic Thornhill’s Pharmacy on Main Street into beautiful new retail space. (Thornhill's Pharmacy existed for over a century, from 1896 to 2010.) Cleverly, Matthew kept Thornhill's colorful outdoor sign. Everyone in town recognizes the sign from its century of use so retaining it adds to the new store's charm. This is the type of effort that keeps small downtowns alive and vibrant.