Fairlee coffee shop creates a buzz around town

Barista Bella Black pours a design into a latte with steamed milk at Sunnyside Coffee in Fairlee, Vt., on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. The shop will celebrate its first year as a bricks and mortar coffee shop on June 14. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Barista Bella Black pours a design into a latte with steamed milk at Sunnyside Coffee in Fairlee, Vt., on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. The shop will celebrate its first year as a bricks and mortar coffee shop on June 14. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

Taryn Adamczyk started Sunnyside Coffee Company in a trailer in Orford, where she lives in the summer of 2022. The business is now nearing its one-year anniversary in its Fairlee storefront location. Adamczyk returns to the shop after cleaning tables outside on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Taryn Adamczyk started Sunnyside Coffee Company in a trailer in Orford, where she lives in the summer of 2022. The business is now nearing its one-year anniversary in its Fairlee storefront location. Adamczyk returns to the shop after cleaning tables outside on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Maddy Bridge , left, and her mother Dawn Averitt, right, of South Strafford, right, enjoy beverages on the porch of Sunnyside Coffee Company in Fairlee, Vt.,  on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Detours between their home and Crossroads Academy, where they dropped Bridge's sister off for school, take them past the coffee shop. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Maddy Bridge , left, and her mother Dawn Averitt, right, of South Strafford, right, enjoy beverages on the porch of Sunnyside Coffee Company in Fairlee, Vt., on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. Detours between their home and Crossroads Academy, where they dropped Bridge's sister off for school, take them past the coffee shop. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Bruce Murray, of Bradford, asks his friend Tom Baccei, of West Fairlee, for his order before stepping inside Sunnyside Coffee Company in Fairlee, Vt., on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Bruce Murray, of Bradford, asks his friend Tom Baccei, of West Fairlee, for his order before stepping inside Sunnyside Coffee Company in Fairlee, Vt., on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. "We're all refugees from Vittles in Bradford," said Murray, of the now-closed coffee shop that he used to frequent. He added that the coffee at Sunnyside is worth the trip through detour traffic around the Interstate 89 closure in Fairlee. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

By KATE ODEN

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 06-11-2024 5:31 PM

Modified: 06-12-2024 12:17 PM


FAIRLEE — “Company” takes two forms at Sunnyside Coffee Company at 501 Main Street. Owner Taryn Adamczyk and her baristas make specialty coffee and breakfast with ingredients from local suppliers. They’re also creating a welcoming spot where people gather for each other’s company.

On Friday, June 14, Sunnyside celebrates one year at their location in downtown Fairlee, in the new apartment building, next to Chapman’s General. Sunnyside serves drip and specialty coffee, tea and baked goods, Monday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (closed Tuesdays).

Barista Nara Mills pours a 4-ounce power punch of espresso and steamed milk, known as a cortado. It’s a favorite of Adamczyk’s.

“I’ll drink it before I have a latte in the morning, as a warmup,” said Adamczyk (pronounced a-DEM-check). “Of course, I drink far too much coffee. It’s a very important personal ritual. It’s a constant.”

Sunnyside serves a steady stream of locals and summer residents year-round. “Camp counselors are a huge part of our summer clientele. They get a 10% discount,” Adamczyk said.

Yet it’s the regulars who keep Sunnyside going. “This community gets (loyalty). Winters stay pretty steady. There were two guys who didn’t know each other and now they have a standing coffee date here. I love that,” said Adamczyk.

Orford resident and Sunnyside regular Gaetan DeSimone believes the area needs the type of gathering spot Sunnyside provides.

“Sunnyside does a good job of producing that ‘you’re welcome here’ atmosphere. I feel I can go there any time of day and there’s someone there I can talk to. That didn’t exist before,” DeSimone said in a phone interview.

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DeSimone works as an animator for Nickelodeon, which has offices in Times Square, but he doesn’t miss city life. “More creatives are finding their way out to rural areas. You find a place like Sunnyside and you get that community feeling. (Fairlee) needs a main street. It lacks that idea of here’s three (or) four buildings that act as a hub for adults over 30.”

“I feel like it’s starting to happen. I do feel like that (501 Main) was the start of it. It’s created a buzz around town,” DeSimone said.

Adamczyk, a Massachusetts native, worked in the food industry for years and most recently as a ski-lift manager at the Winter Park Resort in Winter Park, Colorado. She always wanted to start her own business.

In 2020, she was seven months pregnant with her second child when she and her husband, Mark Adamczyk — now manager of the Dartmouth Skiway — and son, Jack — who was a toddler at the time — moved to Orford, just across the river from Fairlee. “I’ve always loved New England. I’ve always wanted to be back this way, especially after having kids.”

Yet it was an adjustment. “At first we didn’t know anybody. It’s an easy place to move to and feel like there’s not a lot going on. So that’s when I started to see the potential. It felt like there was a unique opportunity to start something I’d always wanted to do. How can we form space for people to meet?”

To keep costs low, Adamczyk started with a coffee trailer. She customized a basic model herself, adding plumbing and electricity. In 2022, she opened at the intersection of Routes 10 and 25A in Orford, closer to cornfields than to the town center. “I did enjoy seeing the look on people’s faces when they happened by for the first time.”

Adamczyk started with modest hopes, but was immediately popular. “That first morning, I said to my husband, ‘maybe I’ll sell an espresso today.’ Off the bat, I had a line. I had the greatest group of regulars.”

In June 2023, Adamczyk relocated to the ground floor of the newly constructed 501 Main.

A walkable main street with mixed retail and residential buildings and public green spaces is the vision of 501 Main owner Jonah Richard. In addition to being a local small-scale developer, Richard is the owner of Réal Hazen construction in Fairlee and Travis Noyes’ cousin. He grew up in Fairlee and now lives in one of nine studio apartments on the ground floor behind Sunnyside and two floors up at 501 Main.

“Sunnyside is the perfect fit for downtown Fairlee. Of all the things that are missing in Fairlee, that was top of the list. It’s really nice to see in the village center,” Richard said.

Sunnyside is a welcome addition to the Fairlee business community, said Travis Noyes, a co-owner of Chapman’s General, which his family has operated for four generations.

“Sunnyside and Chapman’s General are great neighbors,” Noyes said. “Both businesses are creating more reasons for people to visit and stay in Downtown Fairlee. Red Clover Bikes across the street is another great successful small business that has recently opened.”

Sunnyside has already courted fame. Actor Justin Theroux, who won a 2024 Critic’s Choice Television Award for his role as G. Gordon Liddy in “White House Plumbers,” features on Sunnyside’s Instagram account (@sunnysidecoffeeco). Theroux bought coffee here while filming “Beetlejuice 2” in nearby East Corinth last year.

“He came in one morning and he was so kind. Then he came in two days in a row, so I said can I call you a regular. He said it’s official,” Adamczyk explains in conversation. On April Fool’s Day this year, Adamczyk went so far as to claim Theroux would be “guest barista” Mondays.

Adamczyk’s de facto niche is “All local, all the time.” The coffee is from Abracadabra Coffee Company in Woodstock. She serves up a breakfast sandwich with rolls from Goose & Willie’s in Orford and bacon and eggs from Robie Farm in Piermont. Weekends, Adamczyk brings in meat-filled Malaysian curry puffs and cakes from Sharmini’s Kitchen in Lyme. Add to that homemade baked goods from Bakestere owner Molly Sharp in Haverhill and it’s brunch.

Collages for sale by Heather Stearns, of Handcut Hodgepodge, decorate the walls inside, a cozy space with bistro seating. There are tables outdoors, too, with views of Sunday Mountain in Orford and the 1936 Morey Memorial Bridge spanning the Connecticut River. It’s a spot to take a selfie with the polaroid camera made available for just that.

Adamczyk has plans to continue drawing people in and encouraging them to return — and not just for coffee. For one thing, she’s set up a community care closet, a locker in the restroom filled with personal care items and donated clothes.

“It’s a take what you need, leave what you can situation,” she said. “I would love to expand on that. I’m really shocked at the community that has started to form around Sunnyside and how I can go with that. I would love to lean into the community-building potential that Sunnyside has. There are so many talented people, just in this limited bubble, and the energy for it — I just want to tap into that.”

Kate Oden is a freelance writer. She can be reached at odenk06@gmail.com.