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Ruggero’s restaurant plans to expand outdoor patio’s seating capacity

The owners of Ruggero’s restaurant in Wading River are seeking Riverhead Planning Board approval to add additional seating to their outdoor patio.

At a work session Thursday, officials reviewed the plans, which call for the construction of a 1,600-square-foot seasonal addition to include 88 seats to an existing outdoor seating area. The patio would then be enclosed with a motorized roof tent system with LED lighting that features motorized windows and screens.

“It’s nicer than keeping a tent up,” Peter Danowski, an attorney for the applicant, explained at the meeting. “It’s classier.”

Currently, he said, the seating area is uncovered and can be uncomfortable for patrons in the summer months. The restaurant is considered the flagship of the Shoppes at East Wind.

The new enclosure would also allow for air conditioning and heating, he said.

According to town planner Karin Gluth, the restaurant’s current seating layout, which has 156 indoor seats and 32 outdoor seats, would be reallocated to include 88 outdoor seats and 128 indoor seats.

It would not change the density, Ms. Gluth said, since indoor and outdoor seats are calculated at different flow rates. They will, however, need to seek county health department approval because the enclosure would be considered an addition to the gross floor area of the restaurant.

In addition to the reconfigured seating, the applicants are seeking to convert an existing 876-square-foot single family home on an adjacent parcel on Sound Avenue to be used as an accessory storage building and create 30 additional parking stalls for the shopping complex. It would become a part of the entire campus and planning staff recommended a sidewalk along Sound Avenue be extended east along that property.

During the work session, Ms. Gluth pointed out several items that must be addressed on the site plan, such as indicating the colors proposed for the rolling tent roof system and depicting a wooden traffic barrier installed to the west of Ruggero’s, near the intersection of Sound Avenue and Route 25A, as they proceed to the Sept. 5 public hearing.

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