Riverhead buffalo farmer and restaurateur Dee Muma held a ceremonial grand opening Wednesday at her Dark Horse restaurant in downtown Riverhead. Ms. Muma also announced that she has closed on the purchase of the adjacent building, 10 Peconic Avenue, where she envisions putting about 10 efficiency apartments on the upper two floors and a couple of stores on the ground floor that could be occupied by startup businesses.
“Kind of like an incubator, where you have a great business idea but you don’t have the site,” she said.
But in the interim, she’s using the space as an entrance to her new restaurant.
Dark Horse is in the ground floor of 1 East Main Street, which Ms. Muma owns, and is adjacent to Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, which she co-owns with her husband, Ed Tuccio. Five duplex apartments occupy the second and third floors. Each duplex has both office and living space, and Ms. Muma said three of the five units are already rented.
Ms. Muma has billed Dark Horse as a brasserie, a French-stye restaurant in an upscale setting that serves single-dish items. Entrees on the main dinner menu include chicken, fish and chops among other selections and run from $15 to $19, with sides sold separately at $5 each.
“Dee, you have done something spectacular,” Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter told Ms. Muma at the event, which attracted business and elected leaders.
At the corner of Peconic Avenue and East Main Street, 1 East Main is an 82-year old building that, when it was built, was one of only four downtown buildings designed by an architect, Ms. Muma said.
She said much of the new restaurant was constructed from reused items or green technology. Lanes from an old bowling alley in the former Club 91 restaurant on Peconic Avenue were turned into the bar, and the tables were made from recycled pine beams from the old building, she said. Plants growing on the roof absorb rainwater to prevent runoff.
And a porcelain bathtub in one of the apartments was actually dragged out of the woods behind the house of one of her employees, whose mother had it torn out of her bathroom, she said. The employee told her about it, she said. Did the employee give it to her for free?
“We swapped a meal for it,” Ms. Muma said.