The Work We Do: Pepe Martinez, Stars Café

Hi, I’m Pepe Martinez. I’m the owner of Stars Café on Shelter Island. We’ve been here since 2005.

I was doing coffee deliveries here since 1995 to this same place. In early 2005, this was offered to my by the last owner and I didn’t want it. When they left, the owner of the building called me and asked if I wanted to run the business and I said no. He said all I had to do was come in and start working, and I said okay, and we’ve been here since.

The first thing I do when I come in,  I thank God for the day before and for today, and for my family and friends and everything. Then I go in the back and start preparing my scones and then after that I start baking muffins and then about a half an hour into it, I start making the first pot of coffee.

A few of the locals already know. They come in and the door is unlocked but it says closed.

Pepe Martinez of Stars Cafe. (Rachel Siford photo)

But they know that’s okay for them. They bring the milks out, do all their stuff. They help themselves. Some they have accounts in here and some just leave the money they just yell at me, “Pepe! Medium coffee!” And I find $2.50 on the counter and I know it was them. Everyone knows what to do already. There’s laughter and it’s fun. At 11 o’clock the lunch begins, and it doesn’t stop until 2 o’clock.

Everything is good about my job, coming in early and we’ll set up everything, all the stuff we need to bake in the morning and for the day. And grinding and blending the coffee. All the smells, brewing coffee. That’s my favorite part of the day.

We are very blessed to be here, to tell you the truth. The community is amazing. The people around here are just amazing. Of course, [our dogs] Momo and Masa are always here. That makes our day.

And we are really happy. We are really happy and we wouldn’t change it for anything.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.