SANDBRIDGE – Until recently, if you arrived at the southernmost end of Sandbridge and wanted a good cup of hot coffee, you were out of luck. Not anymore.
The Baja Coffee Company recently opened. The coffee shop is an extension of the Baja Restaurant, a landmark eatery since 1975.
“There’s no sit down breakfast place in Sandbridge,” said Anne Gassett, running the cafe with her husband, Bill, shortly before their business opened in May, changing the equation. “I love a good cup of coffee, and right now there is no place to get one in Sandbridge.”
Jimmy Reeve, owner of the Baja for the last five years, said a breakfast venue was part of his original vision. Since his meat and potatoes was from the dinner crowd, he knew he would have to wait.
That’s when the Gassetts approached him after running into red tape about operating a breakfast food truck on the nearby premises.
Reeve served on the City Council for one term, so he had some knowledge of how slowly the city’s wheels can turn. The food truck concept was new to Virginia Beach and therefore had a lot of restrictions. The Gassetts couldn’t wait months for approval.
Since he already had an existing business and necessary licenses, and they wanted to be up and running by Memorial Day, he offered the space in the Bay View lounge to the Gassetts.
They jumped at the chance.
“The ambience of this place and the view of the bay is beautiful in the morning,” Anne Gassett said. “People can ride their bikes, canoe, paddleboard or use the dock to park their boats. There’s no place like this in Virginia Beach for breakfast.”
After living on Maui for four years and working with a coffee company there, Anne Gassett brought her expertise back to the beach and started the Shocka-Brew Coffee Company in 1997.
Bill Gassett said the cafe will offer organic and free trade coffee which they are having roasted and then shipped up from Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Homemade granola, smoothies and breakfast wraps are also on the menu, as well as cinnamon rolls and other options.
“The community buzz for the morning meeting place has been very encouraging,” said Bill Gassett, a retired Navy diver. “We are fully engaged in this venture. I look forward to working with Anne. We love each other’s company and really work well together.”
Since their location on the bay is environmentally beautiful but fragile, they said they are following that concept by using eco-friendly products which are recycled, biodegradable and compostable.
“We are really excited,” Anne Gassett said. “This is something that Sandbridge needs, a little spot where people can come and hang out in the morning.”
Tess Rogers, a Pungo resident who comes to Sandbridge almost every day, thinks the idea of a breakfast cafe is a good one.
“I think people would really enjoy having breakfast while looking over the bay,” Rogers said.
The hours of the coffee shop are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day.