& A New Chapter Begins…
New Owner Debra Pirsos Revitalizes Bunbury’s Coffee & Tea Shop
Though Bunbury’s Coffee Shop has been a Piermont fixture for 15 years, this cyclist and tourist haven has undergone a “home-away-from-home” style revamp. Entering Bunbury’s is akin to arriving at a favorite relative’s house: you’re greeted by name and engaged in meaningful conversation, served your coffee just the way you like it (in your favorite mug) and you grab a chair and a book from the welcoming shelves around you. This hospitality and warmth is the creation of one remarkable woman, Debra Pirsos, and her children Christopher, Alex and Sofia.
Debbie was in between healthcare consulting jobs, contemplating her next career move, when she heard that Bunbury’s was for sale. “I always wanted to have a store of some sort. My grandfather had an ice cream parlor years ago. I always thought it would be kind of neat to follow that in some way.” In January 2018, after a few months of negotiations, Debbie established Pirsos Coffee & Tea, Inc. and was handed the key to the coffee shop, well-known around the community as Bunbury’s. She spruced up the place with what she calls “love and light” and brought her optimism to the space. That positive energy is also due to the fact that Bunbury’s is a true family affair: all her children help run the thriving coffee shop, and Christopher’s girlfriend Olivia, trained by a Manhattan baker, creates freshly baked goods daily.
In addition to numerous gourmet coffee and tea offerings, Bunbury’s also serves up ice cream, baked goods and sandwiches (only on weekends). Standouts include the Bunbury muffin, cinnamon chip scones (Lance Armstrong once enjoyed one here), cardamom coffee cake and peanut butter and jelly cookies. Gluten-free and vegan options are available too.
No stranger to life’s hardships, Debbie has built upon the challenges in her life to create worthwhile opportunities for herself and her children. Not only does she own the coffee shop (and run the whimsical, inspirational Instagram page), but she’s also a published author, a certified yoga and meditation teacher and a “communitarian,” according to one customer. Debbie has begun author readings and book signings, live music and art displays and meditation evenings at Bunbury’s. The shop offers free coffee grounds to customers for composting, and leftover baked goods are donated to the Soup Angels in Nyack.
What keeps customers coming back are the simple touches of warmth and kindness. “We remember things. We remember what customers like and don’t like. We’ve made it more personal,” Debbie said. Chris added, “This is a place where people come because they know that we will be nice to them.” It’s also the thoughtful details that make Bunbury’s such an extraordinary place: a large water dispenser and stacks of bananas for bikers, tip jars asking for customers’ opinions on topics such as “New Flooring: Carpet or Hardwood?” and most endearingly, a small discount for bringing your own cherished mug and leaving it behind with your Bunbury “family” for your next visit.
Observers will note that much of the decor is a collection of ampersands (the “&” sign). When asked about the significance of them, Debbie smiled: “Well, there is always more to life … more loving to do & more patience & more kindness & more answers & more trying & more laughter & … obviously, more coffee.”
Bunbury’s is open seven days a week: 7AM–4PM Mondays through Wednesdays and 7AM–6PM Thursdays through Sundays.
Jeannine Deramo is a certified Literacy Specialist and freelance writer. She is a staff writer for Rivertown Magazine and author of the Rivertown Retail monthly fashion & shopping column. She is the founder of lifestyle blog Peace & Plenty.