A lot of businesses have come and gone over the past two years in downtown Greenport, but , a unique little pastry shop-turned breakfast and lunch destination spot, has survived — even thrived — on the southern end of Main Street in the village.
And owner Marc LaMaina is a big reason for it.
LaMaina, a gregarious 31-year-old Greenport native, left a five-year career in IT at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Manhattan and opened Butta’Cakes — a quirky name he’d dreamt up while working his day job — on May 14, 2009. Since then, he’s gone from serving strictly baked goods to establishing Butta’Cakes as a great place for breakfast, lunch and some delectable cheese and chocolate fondue.
“I got the urge to get out of the city and wanted to be the boss of my own company,” LaMaina said while icing a cake in the back of his shop Thursday afternoon. “It’s hard work, but I love it. It is more than I expected, but I kind of expected that feeling.”
Butta’Cakes cupcakes, which really are smooth, buttery and delicious, are $2.75 each and come in flavors such as vanilla butter cream, red velvet, and Belgian chocolate, and daily pastries range from $1 to $4.
The hot menu ranges from breakfast items such as biscuits and gravy for $7.25 and French toast made from house made croissants for $8.75 to lunch sandwiches like NoFo Chicken, made with chicken, bacon, mozzarella and a special sauce for $9.25, and the Ham-Ton Jitney, topped with spiraled sliced ham, swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, honey Dijon, for $9.25.
LaMaina said that his workdays range from 12 to 18 hours depending on the season and that business in the off-season isn’t easy but that Butta’Cakes is still in the black due to huge local support.
“We have a great crowd of regulars,” he said. “It’s really something to see a group of grown men come to a cupcake shop for steak sandwiches every Thursday.”
LaMaina worked in a bakery for three years in college but says that was his only experience in making pastries. He’s got 11 weddings booked for the summer already and is getting married himself to his girlfriend, New York City resident Jennifer Valcin, in September. But someone else is baking the cake.
“My friend told me to just relax and enjoy the wedding,” he said.
LaMaina and cook Alson Edwards, a graduate as well and native of the Caribbean, are the only two employees in the off-season, but LaMaina plans to have at least eight employees during the busy season starting this month.
LaMaina added that he’s looking at opening a second location of Butta’Cakes in Mattituck and hopes to have at least two more stores up and running within the next three years on Long Island.
“I think Mattituck is the best socioeconomic place for us to be,” he said. “We’d make the cupcakes there and just have them delivered to the Greenport store.”
LaMaina said that he just made cupcake number 280,000 — not too shabby over two years, he said, though he has given many away to advertise the business. During the summer, he plans to have a cupcake stand at the Greenport Farmer’s market proposed for and plans to keep his store open until 2 a.m. once his beer and wine license kicks in next month.
“We would like to have a more mature crowd in here at night,” he said. “Where else can you go besides the that late at night around here, especially this time of year?”
But LaMaina also has sites beyond the cupcake shop and all it entails.
“The cupcake market is becoming over-saturated and the bubble is about to burst,” he said. “And when it does, I’ll transition to something else. As long as I can make money.”
Go to Butta'Cakes, 119 Main Street in Greenport on May 14 and get a free cupcake — as long as you're one of the first 100 to walk through the door. Call 631-477-6666.