The long-anticipated Ruggero’s restaurant has opened at The Shoppes at East Wind. The newly constructed 180-seat establishment is now considered the flagship of the Wading River complex that opened two years ago with an eclectic group of small shops and a carousel.
“The Shoppes at East Wind has become a destination,” said manager Ray Bryan, who has spent more than a decade in the restaurant industry. “We are an extension of The Shoppes. We are big on culture and offering professional service with personality. It makes sense to have a family-style restaurant here.”
The menu features traditional Italian fare like penne alla vodka and chicken cacciatore that can be served in individual or family-style portions. Chef and general manager Sebastian Suarez, who trained at The Culinary Institute of America and previously worked at Caffe Amici in Selden, is also serving up hard-to-find Italian cuisine such as sacchettini (a small square pasta stuffed with six types of cheese). Other menu items include a 48-ounce prime cut porterhouse steak for two and a bevy of rich desserts.
“The chef goes the extra mile to find fresh ingredients,” Mr. Bryan said. “It makes a difference.”
The craft cocktail list is another highlight. Many of the 14 drinks are made with locally sourced ingredients and spirits, most notably Montauk Rum. There is also a selection of local craft beer on tap. Special beer and wine dinners as well as live music performances are also in the works.
Ruggero’s is the brainchild of owner Kenn Barra, who owns all 26 acres of East Wind Long Island as well as The Shoppes. The idea for the family-style restaurant began with his uncle, who owned Ruggero’s in Little Italy. Mr. Barra got his start by helping at his uncle’s kitchen and went on to open his own pizzeria in Rocky Point. He currently operates another eatery at The Shoppes called Brezza Pizza Kitchen.
Ruggero’s is now open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.