Farm Country Kitchen eatery on West Main Street has become a popular restaurant because of its food and riverfront location, but town officials said it is operating without necessary permits, and the Town Board on Tuesday voted to authorize legal action in state Supreme Court against the business.
“He cannot do what he’s doing there,” Mr. Walter said Tuesday. “He cannot have a full-fledged restaurant, no parking, no traffic control, no handicapped access, and basically no permits.” He said the town has issued fines in town Justice Court over the past year. He said the site only has approval for take-out catering, not a restaurant.
The restaurant, which is housed in an old farmhouse, sells paninis, salads, sandwiches and wraps for both lunch and dinner. Parking has been a problem at the popular lunch spot with many patrons forced to leave their cars along West Main Street from
the restaurant to Art Sites gallery. The eatery is open seven days a week and has been serving dinner since 2010.
It is described as a unique, rustic eatery nestled on the banks of the Peconic River in Riverhead, according to its website.
“He’s got good food from what people tell me, but you can’t ask the restaurants on Main Street to do all the things we tell them to do to comply with the code and this guy just comes in and decides he’s going to open a restaurant in a house,” Mr. Walter said.
Farm Country Kitchen owner Tom Carson declined to comment on the record on the allegations.
His Riverhead-based attorney, Peter Danowski, said Mr. Carson is “a victim of his own success.”
“It’s become an extremely popular spot to grab a sandwich and it’s the kind of thing that downtown Riverhead would love to see,” he said. Mr. Carson is currently looking to acquire additional land for parking, he said. “We share the town’s concern about parking, but a restaurant is a permitted use in that area, and we’d like to think the town would applaud his success.”
He said other businesses in that area also park along the street.
Mr. Walter said the town’s main concern is public safety. He said he recently saw a car backing out of the restaurant’s driveway into oncoming traffic on West Main Street.