Milford builder turns talents to bagel shop
MILFORD >> Patrick Devine owns a city construction company, but since he loves to work and has daughters to help out, Devine recently fulfilled a longtime dream by starting a bagel shop and café.
Devine’s Bagels & Café opened seven weeks ago at 1085 Bridgeport Ave. and business is taking off with the help of Devine’s three daughters, stepdaughter and a manager who’s “like a daughter,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m a guy who works 100-plus hours a week and wears five hats.”
Along with running Devine Construction Corp. home construction and addition business, Devine gets to the café every morning at 4:50 and is sometimes there until 10 p.m., leaving in between to shower, eat and run the other business.
Aside from being a hard worker, he always wanted to own a café, seriously considering spots in Bethany and Newtown some 15 years ago, but those deals fell through.
He also has been known at other cafes to buy breakfast for all the veterans who come in on a given day through the years.
While he’s not planning to retire anytime soon, when he does, Devine figures running the café will be a great project. He also wants a business to pass on to his daughters.
The support of his “beautiful,” wife, Debbie Devine, made his dream possible — and she helps with the paperwork, he said.
His oldest daughter, Jennifer Devine-Pirozzoli, 30, is a stay-at-home mother of three, who is in charge of the café’s gluten-free line, which includes cookies, cupcakes and parfaits.
Daughters Christine, 28, and Jaclyn, 26, have full-time jobs, but help on the weekend.
His manager, Monica Baran, 26, is like a daughter, Devine said, and stepdaughter, Tanya Check, 36, who lives in Florida, played a huge part in the family business by creating the menu and other start-up components from afar.
Devine said he is known to be organized and meticulous, which shows in the spotless, cozy café with big-screen TV and a nautical theme, including the menu.
FORT TRUMBULL ROOTS
A longtime Milford resident who grew up in the Fort Trumbull area, he chose the theme because the city is known for its shoreline.
The front patio, with a picnic table, has a mini-sailboat with a huge pot of flowers.
The café’s sandwiches have names such as the Tugboat, Barge, Charles Island, Point Lookout, Fort Trumbull Beach, Gulf Beach and the popular Yacht, of Nova salmon, capers, onions, tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel or bread.
Fifteen types of bagels include Rainbow, Jalapeno Cheddar and Everything. There are also several gourmet cream cheeses, with the signature Cherry Devine, created by his wife.
“I like people. I like pleasing people,” he said. “I also love to work. If I stop and rest I get tired.”
The café, next door to Carvel, is open 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.
Devine said he grew up with very little and his parents rented apartments. He didn’t like the feeling of being broke, and vowed his life as an adult wouldn’t be that way.
Devine said his mother was kind and sweet, but his father was ultra-strict and made him go to work with him and labor at age 6-12. His dad never taught him anything, he said.
Once old enough, he got his own job, then a second, and then learned construction, working for others until 1993 when he opened Devine Construction.
“I came from nothing. I thought, ‘I’m not going to let this happen to me,’” Devine said.