River Walk Bar and Grille opens in downtown Riverhead

River Walk Bar and Grille has opened its doors in the former Joe’s Garage and Grill space.

John Molesi, head chef and co-owner, brings more than 25 years of restaurant experience to downtown Riverhead. He was the chef manager at the Triangle Pub in Eastport before venturing out on his own.

Mr. Molesi, 42, described the food as American cuisine with burgers, sandwiches and fish during the day, and steaks, seafood and pasta dishes for dinner. It also has a full bar.

“It’s more of a nautical theme,” he said. “We’re on the riverfront right here, so River Walk was the right name for it, and fish and steaks is a great menu for it.”

The Center Moriches resident said he wanted to transform the space that was once a car-themed restaurant until Joe’s Garage closed its doors in December. His most important vision was to brighten up the space.

“I’ve been feeding the surrounding areas for a long, long time,” Mr. Molesi said. “People are happy to see that when I left there [Triangle Pub], I’m back around.”

His partner, Steve Glauber, will be in the front of the house.

“We have a pretty good partnership,” he said. “I do all the cooking and run the day-to-day stuff. He is the front-of-the-house manager.”

Mr. Molesi said although he loved his old job, he wanted something new.

“I was working, 60, 80, 100 hours a week for somebody else, when I could do it for myself, it made more sense,” he said.

Right now, there is a happy hour Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., and drink and food specials during all NFL games.

In the future, they hope to host special events like trivia nights and brunch on Sundays.

“Basically what I want is for it to be a family atmosphere,” he said. “Families come in and have good food and enjoy their time. Plus, on the same token, I want my bar patrons to have a good time, enjoy themselves and relax.”

He said the food is priced affordably, with lunch ranging from about $9 to $14, and dinner ranging from $17 to $24 for entrees.

“My place is spacious,” he said. “There’s more than enough room for everybody.”

River Walk Bar and Grille is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until closing time, which will be dictated by the customers that day.

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Photo caption: John Molesi stands at the bar at River Walk. (Rachel Siford photo)