Java Burrito Company - Attending to the Details
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai
The details make all the difference at Java Burrito Company, where owners Michael Fekete and Frederika Liene Håkansson attend to the fine points of their exceptional Mexican grill and specialty coffee bar in the Village at Wexford on Hilton Head Island. Details like making community a focal point; details like creating just the right hangout where the day progresses delectably from breakfast to lunch, through happy hour, and on to dinner; details like sourcing organic, local, all-natural ingredients, that never have artificial preservatives, growth hormones, or antibiotics.
“Community is a big reason why we opened Java Burrito,” Håkansson said. “Being from Miami and South Florida, you have that South American/Central American influence of community, family, and gathering. We wanted that here.” With community-sized tables, seating inside and out on the oak-shaded patio, a comfy lounge area, newly installed electrical outlets throughout, and high-speed Wi-Fi, JBCO is perfectly appointed to play host, whether for business or pleasure.
Connecting with the community is inherent in the JBCO experience. “We have a group of guys from Wexford that play backgammon here,” Håkansson said. “During The Heritage, we even had several [PGA Tour] caddies and players who came by and saw the games going on and decided it was where they wanted to be. We had this awesome backgammon set-up with people that people would have really liked to be sitting there watching.
“We sponsor all the high school athletic programs as well as the theater programs [and the Van der Meer Junior Tennis Academy]. Between that and adding our espresso milk shakes to the menu, we’ve pulled all of this young energy in,” Håkansson said. “We also hire so many young people. We can see the huge difference between those who are involved in after-school activities and those who aren’t, and we want to support that; it translates into responsible adults.”
Signature South Carolina Peach Salsa
Roasted Corn Salsa
Fresh Chopped Pico de Gallo
“We’re all in this together,” Fekete said. “Through the off-season, they are our support system. We have a couple of kids on the swim team right now, and they just run circles around everyone else. The only problem is when there’s a swim meet we’re out three really good employees,” he said with a half-smile. “We support them, and they support us.” That’s community.
Food-wise, “If you think about it, everything is farm-to-table,” Fekete said. Of course, the difference lies in the distance between the farm and the table. At JBCO, every detail of that process is considered. “Everything you see here is prepared here every day; hand-chopped, hand-sliced, hand-shucked.” Even while their customers are sleeping, JBCO’s ingredient hunter works across the region, arriving at farmers markets at the crack of dawn to get the best haul off the farmers’ trucks.
Vendors like Savannah Coffee Roasters, Island Bagel, Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse, and Capital Bee Company represent the JBCO’s commitment to provide extraordinary ingredients to complement the JBCO experience. “Everything that comes from the Charleston Artisan Cheesehouse is top notch,” Håkansson said, “and Capital Bee Company’s honey is the gold standard of honey. The bees are out there pollinating the blackberries, so that’s where the flavor comes from.”
Chicken tacos with your choice of fresh toppings.
Anchored by their organic, cage-free, USDA, eggs, a JBCO breakfast ticks every imaginable box. “We scramble the eggs to order, or you can get them over easy, over medium, or over hard,” Fekete said. “We put it in a bowl, a burrito, or a taco; we’ve even done it in a quesadilla.” Served solo, or with steak, pork, or chicken, the eggs may be accompanied by two variations of breakfast potatoes—russet or sweet—that have been baked with olive oil, rosemary, and salt, and sautéed to a golden brown. Toppings include all-natural bacon, cilantro lime rice, grilled veggies, fresh salsas, queso (melted and made in-house with pico and fresh oregano), sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and their now legendary, house-made guacamole.
Breakfast leads directly to the JBCO Coffee Bar, where a morning cuppa is only the beginning of what will certainly become a beautiful relationship morning, noon, and night. “In the summer, our Coconut Iced Coffee is probably our number-one seller outside of our Mexican Mocha,” Håkansson said. “It’s our coffee blend, French coconut cane sugar (you can make it as sweet or as not sweet as you want) and then we add coconut milk. Visitors are coming back for it.”
Milkshakes, one of their newest offerings, are a perfect base for some yummy variations. “They come standard with vanilla bean ice cream and milk,” Fekete said. “The espresso shake is ice cream, milk, and espresso, but then you can build from there. You can add coconut, coconut milk. We can make a Mexican Mocha Milk Shake with dark chocolate, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, espresso, ice cream, and milk. It’s too good.” Ice cream is also sold by the scoop. An affogato is the purist’s way of appreciating both the fine ice cream and exceptional espresso.
At JBCO, customers can indulge in fresh, truly local fish, cooked to order and topped with a fresh citrus drizzle made with orange juice, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt. The fish shares the menu with steak, pork, chicken, and veggies as toppings for their burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads, along with all the toppings on the breakfast menu with the addition of beans.
With several ways to imbibe, from spirits, wine, local and imported beers, a full champagne menu, including Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot, their freshly made margaritas and specialty cocktails, JBCO has found a way to up their game. The JBCO’s Happy Hour, every day from 4-6 p.m., features $5 drinks from their specialty cocktail menu including lime margaritas, peach margaritas, peach nectar Bellinis, and mimosas, made with freshly-squeezed juice.
“When I go home at night, I listen to Frank Sinatra and music from that era,” Håkansson said. “If you think about the music, the cars, the architecture of that time, everything had more detail. It’s something we [as a society] have gotten away from. Now it’s more about convenience or how fast can I get this done; how quickly can I get an answer, instead of taking some time and putting your heart into something and going the little extra mile for the details.” The details really do make all the difference.
Java Burrito Company is open Monday-Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is located at Village at Wexford, 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite J6, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 842-JAVA or visit JavaBurritoCo.com.