Newly opened Gregorys Coffee at 342 Greenwich Avenue will donate all proceeds on Thursday, Dec 16 to Coffee for Good, a non profit that provides training and jobs for people with disabilities.
In fact, Gregorys on the Avenue employs two graduates of Coffee for Good on a permanent basis.
“As soon as I said I was starting a coffee shop here, people said, ‘You’ve got to talk to Coffee for Good,'” said Gregory Zamfotis, namesake of the coffee shop, who lives locally.
“We’ve partnered with Coffee for Good and hired two of their graduates,” Zamfotis added, noting that Coffee for Good provides training at their Maple Ave coffee shop.
“We’re the first to hire people from Coffee for Good. Since they’ve been here, they’ve been over the moon excited.”
Meeting Zamfotis, it takes just a moment to connect the company logo to his face – the eyeglass frames are unmistakable.
Gregorys got its start in 2006 in New York City.
“I grew up in the food business helping my dad since I was little. My father had fast casual concepts and I grew up watching him operate businesses in busy parts of Manhattan,” Zamfotis explained. “I would help in the summers, winters and school breaks swatting flies and doing deliveries.”
Zamfotis said he went to college to study business, thinking he’d go into banking. When he came back to New York City for law school he still thought he might pursue something white collar, but instead he returned to his roots.
“I had always wanted to do something on my own and have my own business. I just didn’t know what it was,” he recalled. “My father had a deli near my law school and I asked him if he’d let me run that store while I finishing law school.”
Zamfotis said at some point he had an epiphany that maybe food service should be his career.
Likening his years spent helping his father to the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Blink it takes to become an expert at something, he figured he’d accumulated at least that many hours helping his father.
When Zamfotis had the idea of starting his own coffee business, his farther supported him.
Since starting in 2006, Zamfotis said Gregorys honed its identity and how to set itself apart from the competition.
“We call it ‘fueling people’s hustle,'” he said.
Everyone who loves Greenwich knows what that means.
“I know what I look for when I go out for a coffee. I want to bring my laptop somewhere comfortable, somewhere with great Wifi and really good coffee,” he said. “People in Greenwich want high quality, and they don’t want to make sacrifices. Most important is speed and efficiency. Some places make really good coffee, but miss other aspects like speed, customer service or the menu.”
Zamfotis, who discovered the health benefits of a vegan diet for himself four years ago, said the menu at Gregorys features many plant based items. And while there are six breakfast sandwiches – three are vegan and three are traditional – the two most popular are vegan.
The very popular Vegan Burrito is made with folded JUST egg, Esti foods shredded cheddar, potatoes, peppers, onions and paprika.
We tried it and it’s truly delicious!
“I give that burrito to many people and don’t tell them it’s plant-based – and they freak out (when they learn it’s plant based),” Zamfotis said.
The other very popular vegan breakfast sandwich is the Vegan Deluxe, which features JUST Egg folded, Beyond Sausage, and Daiya Foods cheddar cheese on a buttery vegan chia seed croissant.
“People can tell we’re not featuring plant based food because it’s a trend,” he said. “We have a robust vegan menu curated by someone who actually eats that kind of diet. I don’t want to leave my store to eat or drink during the day. All these things together fuel the hustle. You want plant based food, good coffee and a comfortable environment to sit and get your work done. I want to say yes as much as possible.”
About the coffee.
It’s roasted in-house at the Gregorys New York City commissary and brought to Greenwich several times a week so it’s always fresh.
“We leaned into the ‘cold brew bar’ – it’s almost like a cocktail list, but it’s not liquor. It’s cold brew. Even in the winter, people drink the cold brew. A popular cold brew is the Hall & Oats featuring oat milk.
“Oat milk is crazy popular. Here in Greenwich it’s more popular than whole milk.”
Gregorys – the lack of apostrophe is intentional – also has amazing WiFi.
Seating is plentiful with seats 46 inside and approval for 8 seats outside, for a total of 54.
“Stay as long as you want. Have your friends join you. Have your meetings here. I encourage that,” Zamfotis said. “We want Gregorys to be alive and full, and we have enough tables to satisfy that. People can be pretty certain when they come in there will be comfy seating and stay for a quick coffee or stay a little longer.”
But back to the team, which features graduates of Coffee for Good.
“We have a phenomenal team,” Zamfotis said. “A few people who worked for us in New York City but were from Westchester and relocated here. And we started pretty early on the hiring front and hired a lot of Greenwich locals.”
“Anyone who comes in should have a really great experience,” Zamfotis said.