CJ’s opening in old DoLittle’s space in Mattituck Plaza

05/03/2014 10:18 AM |
CJ's American Grill owners, from left: Joanne Richards, Chris Richards and Sal Malguarnera, with Bobby Bugdin, restaurant principal, and manager Sandra Bilotti. Barbaraellen Koch photo.

CJ’s American Grill owners, from left: Joanne Richards, Chris Richards and Sal Malguarnera, with Bobby Bugdin, restaurant principal, and manager Sandra Bilotti. Barbaraellen Koch photo.

CJ’s American Grill, a new farm-to-table restaurant located in Mattituck Plaza, will celebrate a soft opening at noon Wednesday, co-owner Chris Richards said.

A Grand Opening will follow soon after at an undetermined date.

Housed in the space formerly occupied by Dolittle’s Bar and Grill, which closed in early 2012, CJ’s will feature a diverse menu with locally sourced ingredients, Mr. Richards said.

The 40-to-50 seat restaurant will have a built-in “wine wall” with more than 90 North Fork wines for sale, all priced at $25 a bottle.

Local beers, including Riverhead’s Crooked Ladder Brewery, will also be available on draft.

“It’s going to be a fun place,” said Mr. Richards, a Patchogue resident and owner of East End Catering, co-owns CJ’s American Grill with his wife, Joanne, and business partner Sal Malguarnera. The restaurant will be managed by Mr. Richards’ friend Sandra Bilotti of Mattituck.

“It’s going to be a place where everybody can come get an awesome meal and get to taste all the local ingredients for under $28,” he said.

Entrées, whipped up by executive chef Brian Arbesfeld, former sous chef at A Lure in Southold, will consist of dishes like pork-belly sandwiches and grilled local striped bass with a dill-compound butter. Each entrée will be served with a local salad and vegetable from Sang Lee Farms in Peconic and Cutchogue’s Satur Farms, Mr. Richards said.

Mr. Arbesfeld, who lives in Southold and formerly owned Focaccia Grill in Wantagh, described his cooking style as “American with some Mediterranean and Asian influences” and said he’s “very open” when it comes to creating dishes.

“I kind of really like taking a little spin on what’s been done and make it a little bit different, put my own signature on it,” he said.

CJ’s American Grill isn’t the only eatery debuting at Mattituck Plaza this spring: Goldberg’s Famous Bagels is expected to open this month in the storefront formerly occupied by North Fork Bagel Company, owner Mark Goldberg said earlier this year.

ryoung@timesreview.com

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