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Restaurant proposed at former Caboose Pub as redevelopment efforts grow around Railroad Avenue

The former Caboose Pub on Railroad Avenue could be transformed into a 40-seat, sit-down restaurant, under a proposal presented to the Riverhead Town Board.

The applicant had previously proposed building a grocery store at the location. The revised plans were discussed at Thursday’s Town Board session with Pablo Rodriguez, the design professional for property owner Maximo Nunez, who was not present. 

Mr. Rodriguez said the owner has yet to finalize what type of restaurant to locate there.

Town officials said anything is an improvement. 

“Any improvements you make down there are going to be welcome,” said Councilman Tim Hubbard. “I like what I see here and I appreciate the fact that you’re investing in Riverhead and making that area better looking.”

The property was once home to the Caboose Pub, which also was called Loose Caboose, Danny’s Den and other names until its liquor license was revoked by the state in April 2019 following a number violent incidents. 

Mr. Nunez acquired the property in August 2019 and initially sought to open a grocery store. 

The property at 133-139 Railroad Avenue — which is its address and the application name — also includes a barber shop and a taxi dispatcher. 

Town building and planning administrator Jefferson Murphree said the applicant had “perfect timing,” as the town is planning to undertake a transit-oriented development on Railroad Avenue. 

The TOD includes a plan redevelop the long-blighted Railroad Avenue area with a 243-unit, mixed-use apartment complex and parking garage.

Mr. Murphree said the next step in the process is to hold a public hearing on the site plan application. Approval from the county health department is also needed. 

Mr. Rodriguez said the applicant is seeking three uses in the building, counting the barber shop and the taxi dispatch, along with the restaurant.