Big dreams at the Cozy Corner Cafe

Hope and inspiration alongside coffee and acai bowls.


Igor (Iggy) Vukoje is a bit of a Renaissance man. Owner of both the Cozy Corner Cafe and Vineyard Wash in Edgartown, he also holds a PhD in environmental science and microbiology. In 2015, Iggy started Vineyard Wash, a mobile auto and boat detailing company on the Island. “I gained business skills by opening Vineyard Wash, and restaurant experience working in a number of places in Colorado and on the Island,” Vukoje said. Though Vukoje doesn’t work directly in the environmental science arena, his degree has still proven useful.

“My background in environmental science has helped me a lot,” he said. “At the cafe, we’re committed to using recyclable tableware and packaging.” Cozy Corner Cafe is also proud to be a member of Island Eats, an environmentally friendly organization that provides reusable cups and stainless steel bowls for restaurant customers. “It was hard to get a food permit because I needed to show that waste water for the cafe would be minimal. If I hadn’t had knowledge in waste management, it would have been so much harder to get that license.”

Born and raised in Serbia, Vukoje came to the U.S. on a J1 visa. Vukoje dreamed of owning a cafe, but knew that he had some work to do to make that dream a reality. “My first job working in a restaurant on the Island was in a high-end place in Edgartown. I didn’t have any experience in fine dining or with alcohol. I couldn’t even name four drinks. Someone would say that they wanted a Blue Moon and I’d look at the sky. I didn’t get it,” he laughed. “I got fired after a month. Every time I failed though, I didn’t want to give up.”

Vukoje’s work ethic, energy, and passion are palpable. “I left my family and came here with only $200 in my pocket. But I saw an opportunity I didn’t have back home,” he said. “People don’t realize that this is still the land of opportunity. I could have moved to Germany, or another country, but I chose the U.S. and Martha’s Vineyard.”

The interior at the Cozy Corner Cafe is simple and clean. There are several tables and chairs, a bar with stools facing the windows, two leather sofas, and a massage chair. Yes, you heard that right; a massage chair. The menu at Cozy Corner Cafe includes a variety of drinks, single-origin coffee, acai bowls, and sandwiches. “Everything we offer is on the healthy side. We don’t have any donuts and fritters,” Vukoje said.

Vukoje was intentional when choosing employees for the cafe. He wanted to hire people who would bring their unique talents, knowledge, and backgrounds to the table. Monica Aurora Buestan is from Ecuador and is the head chef and assistant manager at the cafe. “Monica is great. She brings some of her culture to the menu, which I love,” Vukoje said. Andrea De Landero is the cafe’s general manager. “Andrea is the best barista on the Island. I consider her a profit sharing partner. That’s how important she is to me. Without her, it wouldn’t be as beautiful.”

Vukoje seems to thrive on collaborating and providing opportunities for others — including his own family. “My brother and sister-in-law won a green card lottery, became legal residents of the U.S., and moved in with me. My brother is a manager at Vineyard Wash, and my sister-in-law is the head manager at the cafe,” he said. Vukoje’s parents also played a role in getting the Cozy Corner Cafe up and running. On a tourist visa, they were able to come to the Island last summer and help Vukoje.

Vukoje’s 2-year-old son, Matteo, is also already showing interest in the cafe. “Matteo loves being here. I will eventually leave all of this to him, but I want him to see what it takes to make a business run.”

Vukoje is exploring new ideas for the cafe. “We started free salsa dances here every Friday night. An instructor comes in and teaches the basics, and we move the furniture and make a dance floor. The point is to help people feel free and alive,” he explained. “Our first one had a great turn out. A lot of older folks came. I want people to come here and feel comfortable and welcome.”

Vukoje is also considering hosting live music, as well as art, poetry, and Latin nights as well. “I want this place to be recognized as something different. The winters are hard here and I want people to have a place to go. I want to inspire people to have hope.”

Cozy Corner Cafe, 238 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Edgartown. 508-939-3988.,



  1. If you don’t think this country needs immigrants you’d better think again. They are so hardworking and grateful to be here. This is an example of the America I love.

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