La Perla Restaurant and Bar opens at former PeraBell on Main Street

Downtown Riverhead is home to a brand-new multicultural restaurant.

La Perla Restaurant Bar and Grill — specializing in Hispanic, Italian and American fare — opened last month in the space last occupied by PeraBell Food Bar at 65 East Main St.

La Perla is Italian for “the pearl,” an homage to one of owner Gabriela Montoya’s favorite gems.

Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., La Perla’s menu ranges from pupusas — a typical Salvadorian dish consisting of a thick griddle cake that can be stuffed with cheese, beans and various meats — to soups, tacos, chicken wings, pizza and more.

“I want to establish the restaurant [as] family oriented so people can come here and eat and enjoy the environment,” Ms. Montoya said.

 She hails from a family of restaurateurs, who run the Cococabana Tavern in Shirley. Ms. Montoya was a longtime bartender there before launching her own restaurant. 

Looking ahead, Ms. Montoya said she intends to add catering and host events at La Perla. She is currently working to obtain an outdoor liquor license so she can open an outdoor bar behind the restaurant. La Perla has already secured a liquor license for inside the restaurant.  

She currently has  15 employees and plans to hire more staff once the outdoor liquor license is approved.