At Angels Country Store in East Marion, the regulars buy coffee, breakfast sandwiches and newspapers just like always. But beets, sweet corn and other local products have appeared on the shelves. In late September, Angels became Fork & Anchor, a new country store as envisioned by Erin Fitzpatrick and Lucy Muellner (shown, from left), business partners with food and wine experience and tons of enthusiasm.
The former Brooklyn residents, both 32, came to the North Fork a year ago, curious about its food, wine and farming scene, and searching for the right place to start a business. When the opportunity arose to lease Angels, they jumped on it.
“We have lots of ideas about what we want to do here,” says Muellner, a fashion-stylist-turned-chef who studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Country store staples will stay, but with updated ingredients. The sandwiches use locally baked bread; instead of cold cuts and cheese slices there’s thoughtfully sourced meats and farm- stead cheeses, a green grocer section and ice cream and hot cider in season. Customers can order boat/picnic baskets containing Blue Duck Bakery baguettes with Southold Fish Market bluefish paté and Erin’s walnut-margarine spread, sliced root vegetables lasagna, roasted faro with pumpkin and greens, or classic Brooklyn ham and Mecox cheese sandwiches. Dessert can be butterscotch pudding with whipped cream in a mason jar, “My favorite thing in the world right now,” Muellner said, and drinks are fresh-pressed local pear and apple juice. The baskets are perfect for a day on the water or a harvest season wine country jaunt. As reported in Vogue, the couple is working with an industrial designer to create a reusable cardboard picnic basket that doubles as a tabletop.
A community-supported agriculture service with a weekly box of produce sourced from local farms will be available. Also in the mix are small-event catering and Fork & Anchor’s own line of preserves.
Behind the store is a circa-1860 barn that will become an art space. The partners are using the funding platform Kickstarter to finance the renovation of the dusty old barn into a bright, clean place that they hope will inspire community gatherings.
“We were both ready to do something more meaningful,” says Fitzpatrick, who hails from Connecticut and spent 10 years in New York City as a sommelier, wine consultant and event planner. “Now, every day out here, we’re so energized by the food-and-wine community. And we’re getting to know our local customers, talking to them. It’s an incredible place, and we’re so happy to be part of it.”