A new indoor play café is set to open up this month and it’s going to be “A Latte Fun.”
When Teresa Gabriel had her first daughter, she left her job as an NYC teacher and decided to stay at home in Commack with her. “I would take her all over Long Island looking for things to do during the day as a stay-at-home mom,” she said, “And there was just not much to do.”
She soon got inspired after she did a little bit of traveling and noticed that there were places out of state that were different than anything she ever saw on the island. She found a play place for children that served coffee drinks for parents, and she wanted one close to home.
“I thought, ‘Wow! This is amazing’,” she said. “I figured there are none on Long Island, so let’s try it out… I called my husband and I told him that this is what I want to do.”
The process took about a year to plan, and just this past summer, they took over the location of the former Jenny Craig at 570 E Jericho Turnpike.
Completely family-owned and operated, Gabriel and her mother teamed up and decided to use both of their passions to create the café. “She loves cooking and baking,” Gabriel said, “So I figured we’d take her baking and cooking skills for the café part, and then do this part for me, using my degree, I can do mommy and me-styled classes.”
But mommies aren’t the only ones welcome at A Latte Fun. Gabriel isn’t secluding any type of caretaker of children… moms, dads, grandparents, babysitters and nannies are all able to stop in and grab a drink, while the little one in their life play.
Similar to a local coffee shop, A Latte Fun will have bakery items like bagels, yogurts and other tasty treats, coffee-based drinks, lattes and then kid-friendly options that are quick and easy to make like grilled cheese and chicken nuggets. They also plan on keeping the space peanut and allergen free.
With the help of her own little ones, Eva, 4, and Layla, 2, the family has been hard at work deciding what features the play area will hold. Right now they are building a nine-foot playhouse where kids can go in with an imaginary kitchen and fake laundry.
There is going to be a slide, miniature wall climbing, a small carousel that’s motorized, and a large structure with more slides and a mini trampoline. Dress up, LEGO tables and a train set will also be available for kids to play with and use for imagination.
While people of all ages are welcomed inside the café, she says that the space is appropriate for kids 7 years and younger, but safe enough for crawlers six months and up.
“There will be plenty of things for boys and girls,” she said “That’s really what it came down to… I couldn’t stay inside my house everyday and where can I take them? I was always going to the library and just trying to find things to do and meet other parents.”
Gabriel has a lot of ideas for the space, which is set to open up later this month. “It’s been a very long process,” she said. “I just want to start.”
One plan, along with the mommy and me-styled classes and the shop in general, is to host birthday parties for families interested in a fun and new way to celebrate. “We have a lot of moms already asking us if they can start to book birthday parties and want to come see the space,” she said. “I’m excited that everyone is excited about it.”
Her daughter, Eva, is also very excited… and is looking forward to playing on the carousel. “I can’t wait to play with my friends,” the four-year-old said.
“It’s a great space to help socialize their kids,” Gabriel said. “Come make new friends, come and play and come make the mess here and not at your home.” Eva chimed in adding, “it’s going to be a latte fun!”
Gabriel added that the grand opening date is coming soon, and to keep an eye out on the café’s Facebook for updates.