Business

Restaurant Depot announces plan to open at former Walmart site in Riverhead

Restaurant Depot, a members-only chain selling wholesale food, beverages, equipment and supplies for restaurants and bars, has signed a 15-year lease to occupy the former Walmart site in Riverhead Plaza on Route 58, according to Seth Pilevsky, the co-president of Philips International, which owns the plaza.

“The area has a concentration of Restaurant Depot’s target customer base, including local and acclaimed restaurants, vineyards and tourist-attractive farms, making it the perfect location to serve businesses on both the North and South Fork of Long Island,” Mr. Pilevsky said in a press release Monday.

Restaurant Depot operates more than 130 stores in 30 states and sells wholesale and retail items, including bulk , seafood, meats, fresh produce, frozen grocery items, restaurant equipment and supplies, beer, wine and wholesale spirits only.

The 65,267 square feet of retail space leased by Restaurant Depot was previously occupied by Walmart until its departure in 2014. Walmart opened a new location farther west on Route 58 in January 2014.

A large portion of the space — nearly 47,000 square feet — is still available for lease in the former Walmart, Mr. Pilevsky said.

“Tenants at the Riverhead Plaza continued to thrive, even after Walmart’s departure, due to the strength and resiliency of the Riverhead submarket,” he said.

Phillips International had submitted a site plan application to locate a multiplex movie theater at the former Walmart site several years ago and residents had a petition with more than 3,000 signatures in support of the proposal.

Riverhead Town officials also supported the movie theater proposal.

In the end, however, movie theater companies were not interested, former Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said in 2019.

Town officials had considered the former Walmart location as a potential site to relocate town offices. Those plans never materialized and the town also scrapped the idea of moving to the former Kmart building as well.

The former Walmart store on Route 58 in Riverhead. (Credit: Tim Gannon)