Bill Mulholland’s typical bagel order is an everything with scallion cream cheese, but ever since he opened Schmear Market & Bakery on Main Street in Port Washington, he’s found himself gravitating toward avocado toast.
“It took me almost three years to get tired of a bagel every day,” Mulholland said with a chuckle. “Once a week is the goal now.”
For 10 years, the Huntington native operated Mulholland’s, a now-defunct sports bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with his brother. He later moved to Port with his wife, where they noticed that Main Street lacked a local cafe.
“Living in Brooklyn, there was a cafe on every corner, a place where we could get the coffee we wanted, and salads, that just seemed like a fun concept that could work well,” Mulholland said.
Mulholland envisioned a “neighborhood spot” where locals could walk, and where commuters could stop by for their morning cup of coffee or a pastry. Inspiration struck when he noticed an empty former market,
“We saw the space and really thought we wanted something like that here,” Mulholland said. “I’d always worked in food businesses, so I’d always had an idea for what I wanted to do, and we just kept thinking and adding and expanding.”
He gutted the area and built Schmear, which officially opened in 2017.
Schmear’s carries cafe basics like pastries, a salad bar, coffee and bagels, but Mulholland, who attended the International Culinary Center in Manhattan, adjusts the menu for seasonal tastes, trying out new ideas, or just for fun.
“We’re constantly making changes and doing things differently,” Mulholland said. “If we don’t like something, we’re always looking for a new way or a new idea.”
Schmear also works with “as many local producers” as they can, from local growers for vegetables to Brooklyn-based small batch roaster Toby’s Estate Coffee. The cafe also offers catering and delivery for those who can’t make it to their central location.
Mulholland is particularly proud of the previously mentioned avocado toast, which he says is “the best thing we make.”
“We make a homemade grain bread and grill it, then we put this smashed avocado with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper on top, then we do a bunch of different toppings – Greek salad, Caprese salad with balsamic reduction, smoked salmon with everything seeds,” Mulholland said. “It’s something I could never get sick of.”
To Mulholland, Schmear as a whole doesn’t fit into any one category.
“We’re always having fun with it,” Mulholland said. “What we like about this business is that it’s never exactly the same, and we always have something that someone likes.”