By Connor Beach
The music isn’t the only thing that grooves at Stella Blue in Huntington.
A self-professed “Dead Head,” owner Robert Koopman opened Stella Blue in 2014. The restaurant shares its name with a song by the Grateful Dead, and the walls of Stella Blue are adorned with posters, pictures and other memorabilia that is dedicated to the band.
From the classic jam band music that provides an ambiance to the giant mural of Jerry Garcia on the side of the building, the small restaurant on New York Avenue transports diners back to Woodstock in 1969.
You don’t have to be a hippie to enjoy Stella Blue. Open for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant puts a strong emphasis on serving up quality food to both take-out and sit-down customers.
“We put a lot of time into creating food with fresh, organic ingredients that appeals to everyone,” manager, Corina Elgart said.
In addition to their 100 percent organic iced and hot coffee, Corina said there are plenty of vegetarian dishes on the menu at Stella Blue, as well as a growing number of vegan options.
“It’s super important for our customers to have more vegan options on the menu,” Elgart said.
Elgart said an extensive amount of “experimenting and testing” went into the vegan dishes, which just recently expanded to include a vegan BLT and bacon, egg and cheese.
The Vegan BLT ($8.50) features lettuce, tomato and vegan bacon on Ezekiel bread with vegan mayo. The bread, which is made from grains that have been allowed to sprout before being milled into flour, provides a nice texture to the sandwich. The vegan bacon provided the salty, savory component of the sandwich to complement the fresh vegetables.
The Vegan Bacon, Egg and Cheese ($8.50) is actually made with tofu, an ingredient that took some trial and error to discover, according to Elgart. She said that prepackaged vegan egg mixes contained a lot of artificial ingredients, so the Stella Blue staff came up with an alternative that sticks to the restaurants mission of serving fresh ingredients.
The sandwich, which is also served on toasted Ezekiel bread, includes vegan bacon and vegan cheese.
Stella Blue’s menu is also full of sandwiches, burgers and even fried chicken that is sure to keep any carnivore satisfied.
Stella’s Fries ($3.99), served with sea salt or Cajun seasoning, are crispy and fried to a perfect golden brown. The addicting Cajun seasoning has a strong pepper flavor that leaves a lingering hint of heat on the palate after you inevitably devour the entire basket of fries.
For breakfast lovers, the Scarlet Begonias ($8.75), also a Grateful Dead song, features two scrambled eggs, spinach, avocado, tomato and swiss cheese in a whole wheat wrap. The wrap holds all of the ingredients of this breakfast sandwich together nicely. The eggs are warm and fluffy, and the avocado adds an unexpected creaminess that works well with the cheese.
For lunch, the Guantanamo Bay ($12.99) is Stella Blue’s aptly named take on a traditional Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, spicy mustard and smoked pickled relish on a grilled hero. The pork has a sweet flavor that provides a nice contrast to the spicy mustard and the pickled relish.
Finally, some sweet options at Stella Blue include the Wilderness Cookie and Brownie, which are perfect for a snack after lunch, or the Energy Bite and Breakfast Bomb that can provide a pick me up after a morning workout.
Despite its small size and eclectic décor, the friendly service and casual atmosphere make Stella Blue a fun spot to grab a quick bite in Huntington.
188 New York Avenue, Huntington
Cuisine: Breakfast and Lunch
Prices: Breakfast: $3.95-$12.50; Lunch: $4.99-$15.99
Hours: Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.