Local builder's dream comes true with café opening

What does the construction business have in common with bagels?

The answer is Pat Devine.

Devine, the owner of Devine Construction, with housing developments in Milford, recently opened Devine’s Bagels & Café on Bridgeport Avenue.

He’s still in the construction business, but he said owning a café has been a dream of his for the past 15 years.

A man who says he really likes to work, Devine heads to the bagel shop well before the sun comes up to start prepping the bacon, sausage and other ingredients for the sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, breakfast sandwiches and salads offered at the café.

The bagels arrive around 5:15 a.m. — the shop opens at 6 a.m. and within a few hours Devine is heading out to his construction business, leaving the café to the staff.

“I love it,” Devine said. “I don’t know which one to choose.”

During a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday to officially open the new café, Devine said he may decide to do construction another 10 years and then retire to the new eatery.

He’s joined in the business by his wife, Debbie, who handles the books and paperwork. She also works with him at the construction business, and said she’s happy to help her husband realize his dream.

“Whatever makes him happy,” Debbie said, “that’s what makes a marriage.”

The theme here is nautical because the café is so close to the water, Devine said. John Grant, a member of the Milford Planning and Zoning Board, worked with him to create the nautical look: Light blue walls accented by white; oars, shells, fishing nets and similar decor on the walls. Menu items come with nautical names.

In addition to the staff, Devine’s three daughters can be found here helping out when they have time. There is Jennifer, Kristine and Jaclyn.

Jennifer Devine Pirozzoli prepares a line of gluten, dairy, egg and nut-free items for the café each day. Some bear the names of her and husband Michael’s three young children.

Jennifer’s daughter has allergies, so she considers herself an expert preparing these allergy-free foods in-house each day. She credits her husband with supporting her baking endeavor.

Jennifer spoke during the ribbon cutting ceremony, praising her father for realizing his dream.

“I remember when I was a little girl, my dad always talked about how much he would love to open up a café for our family and how it would be such a dream of his to be able to have this happen in his hometown,” Jennifer said.

She said she remembers going to different mom and pop shops around Milford when she was a child.

“Now being able to do that here with my family and recreate the same memories means the world to me,” she said.

The location for the new café, next to Carvel Ice Cream, is already established as a bagel and coffee shop, having housed two bagel shops in the past.

Devine’s Bagels & Café is open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.