Colorful new pub on tap at Indian Island golf course

A bunch of self-proclaimed “idiots” are set to breathe new life into Kenny’s on the Green, the popular tap room and restaurant that served as the “19th hole” at county-owned Indian Island golf course in Riverhead which abruptly closed earlier this month.

The new restaurant and bar will be re-opening, possibly by Memorial Day weekend, as the fourth in a chain of Long Island bar/restaurants called the Village Idiot Pub, with outposts in Patchogue, Lake Grove and Oakdale. The Riverhead branch will be called Village Idiot Pub on the 19th Tee, according to John Sarno, one of the owners of the restaurant chain.

“The place has crazy potential to be a busier place,” Mr. Sarno said of the new spot. “It’s a no brainer. There is untapped potential there.”

Mr. Sarno and partners Tim Kelly and Mike Krohn are banking on their unique brand of hospitality and entertainment to draw in new customers as well as previous patrons. He said Kenny’s regulars will likely see some familiar faces behind the bar and around the restaurant, as he intends to keep “most” of the staff from Kenny’s, as well as bringing in new people, including a new manager.

“He apparently had a very good staff,” Mr. Sarno said of previous tenant Kenny Sawler, adding that he’ll be meeting with everyone on the staff.           

It remains unclear why Kenny’s on the Green closed abruptly earlier this month, even as bands were scheduled to play at the venue throughout spring and summer 2024. Mr. Sawler, an electrician by trade who grew up in Riverhead and opened Kenny’s in the fall of 2021, declined a request for comment.

Mr. Sarno said that besides weekly specials, the menu at the new restaurant will be the same as the other three VIP locations. The new Riverhead outpost will have a space for private parties and offer catering services.

The new owners are also planning for entertainment, including live music, bingo and trivia nights and plenty of new TVs in the bar area.

Mr. Sarno said a significant renovation will begin this week, including replacing the roof and gutters and tearing out the main entrance, across from the pro shop. The place will also be repainted, inside and out.

“We’re going to rip out that front part, which is where Kenny’s main entrance was and replace it with brand new decking.” The space will be repainted as well, inside and out.

The partners are also planning to bring in string lights, fire pits, Adirondack chairs and cornhole targets for the patio area.  

Mr. Sarno said his team is also planning to cater to golfers on the course.

“We’ll have our own group of idiots in golf carts out serving food and drinks.”