In the Cuban neighborhoods of Miami, consuming coffee is an all-day affair – it has never been reserved just for the morning or for a late afternoon pick up. Family-owned Java Burrito Co. brings this coffee-loving concept to the Lowcountry via Hilton Head Island. The café sourced the best coffee beans supplied locally by Savannah Coffee Roasters, established in 1909, which brings over a century of experience to the art of roasting beans and they perfected it long ago. “Coffee beans are grown in Central and South America and that’s where burritos are also a staple, so since both come from the same geographic region, meshing burritos with coffee seemed like a natural combination,” explains Fredrika, fiancé of owner Michael Fekete. “Our customers have started drinking coffee with their burritos for the first time!” It may have taken some coaxing initially, but the customers have now seen the light (and by the way, they use LED lighting, which is energy-efficient and sustainable.) Coffee curiosity begs the question: what is the best selling coffee? “We have featured Mexican Mocha as our special coffee from day one and it is wildly popular so we have kept it – it has a permanent spot on the chalk board! Served hot or iced, this specialty coffee is made with honey, mocha, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. The coffee bar also offers organic dairy and dairy substitutes.” says Fekete.
Since they opened their doors in April of this year, Java Burrito Co. has become one of the most popular spots on the island for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering burritos, bowls, tacos and salads. The chicken, pork and beef are humanely raised, hormone-free, antibiotic free, they allow no MSG in their ingredients and provide many gluten-free choices. In this day and age, this criteria is very important to a growing segment of the population and the family’s philosophy follows suit. Customers choose to be more informed about the food they are eating and this one of the reasons Java Burrito Co. has made such a splash even before its very first birthday. For those who crave a burrito that is made with care and with the multitude of toppings, it is very apparent this burrito bar is not just any burrito bar. Swordfish, barrel fish, tile fish and other local fish make delectable tacos and they even know the name of the fishing boat bringing in the catch – an example of just how connected they are to their suppliers. They are even more connected to their customers by suggesting new and different topping combinations. “It’s the customer’s burrito and we try to accommodate their taste. It seems the classic chicken burrito is the “go-to” burrito.” says Fekete. If you’ve already had your dose of coffee for the day, they also have a good selection of beer (Mexican and domestic), wine and even bubbly.
The ambiance has much more to it than other burrito bars – the lighting is perfect for a first date or also serves as a quiet spot for catching up on the headlines. The layout of the cafe is spacious out and there is a corner lounge with comfy chairs and wrought iron gates artfully repurposed to serve as décor, picked up at a country antique store. “Adding live music this fall has brought in more people. There is ample outdoor seating amongst the live oaks in the courtyard of The Village at Wexford, it’s like a mini amphitheatre. We are also pet-friendly in the outdoor seating area.” says Daina, Fekete’s mother. The staff is upbeat and attentive and grow their own cactus in a raised garden bed on the roof–well, not really, but it feels as if they were asked to do so, they would!
From young professionals, cross-fitters, and families, to yoga instructors, retirees, surfers, and high school kids before football games, a diverse cross section of customers come not only for coffee and burritos but for a sense of community. Another community table has been ordered since they have become so popular. Customers sit down with total strangers and leave having cultivated new relationships – isn’t that what having a cup of java is all about? After the first six months, business has sustained itself and was not greatly affected by the tourist migration at the end of summer. “We would like to thank all our locals who have supported us by coming in on a regular basis. We like to treat every customer like they’re the only one! We are constantly training our team and since my family – my fiancé, my mother, and other family members – and I are here working side by side, we try to lead by example in terms of customer service.”
This family’s dedicated work ethic is truly what is takes to operate a family-owned business. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and they have been approached by entrepreneurs who would propose to take the concept of Java Burrito Co. and bring it to other parts of the globe. When asked about expanding, they plan on continuing to focus solely on getting a solid footing with their first café and then can then come up for air to possibly pursue those discussions at some point. “New York-Paris-Tokyo” has a nice ring to it ¿Por qué no?
Java Burrito Co. will hold its “First Annual Halloween Boo-rito Bash” on Friday, October 31st in honor of “Boo” the family dog, who was adopted from the Hilton Head Humane Society. Stay tuned for something special for customers arriving in costume. Let the java rock and the burritos roll!
Java Burrito Co.
The Village at Wexford
1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite J6
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Open Mon-Sat 7:30 AM – 9:00 PM