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07/11/14 8:00am
07/11/2014 8:00 AM

Industry leaders describe the brown leafy vegetable as salty, sweet, firm and gluten-free, although it can take on different textures depending on preparation techniques. In April, kelp grown by Bren Smith in Connecticut’s Long Island Sound waters was served at a White House dinner — a first, he said, for domestically cultivated kelp.  (more…)

05/07/14 3:00pm
05/07/2014 3:00 PM
Describing his dish to the judges.

Describing his dish to the judges.

Aspiring chef Danny Insogna of Southold came back with a vengeance at this year’s Long Island High School Culinary Competition Tuesday afternoon — taking first place and a $4,000 Sysco sponsored scholarship to Suffolk County Community College’s culinary arts program.  (more…)

12/31/13 10:30am
12/31/2013 10:30 AM
JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | In September, The Grind Cafe had a sign on its front door saying it would reopen soon. Four months later, it's reopening as Maryann's, a sit-down restaurant.

JOSEPH PINCIARO PHOTO | In September, The Grind Cafe had a sign on its front door saying it would reopen soon. Four months later, it’s reopening as Maryann’s, a sit-down restaurant.

Wading River’s popular Grind Café has been reinvented as a sit-down American restaurant called Maryann’s, owner Maryann Iacono said Monday. A soft opening is planned for Jan. 2.

“My two daughters and I opened the Grind together,” said Ms. Iacono, a real estate agent who lives in Wading River. “My oldest daughter now has an 8-month-old baby and my youngest daughter just went back to school, so I’m doing what I always wanted to do, which is open up a real, grown-up restaurant.”

When it opens Thursday, Maryann’s will only serve lunch, Ms. Iacono said. Dinner service will be added at some point in the future and she’d like to eventually offer weekend brunch. Menu offerings will include a “little bit of everything,” Ms. Iacono said, including burgers, chops, fish and sandwiches.

The Grind Café, which opened on North Country Road in August 2011, sold specialty breakfast sandwiches, gourmet coffee and catering. Located in the site of the former Wading River Post Office, The Grind Café sits a few doors down from Amarelle, an upscale restaurant that closed in January 2012.

Over Labor Day weekend, The Grind Café suddenly closed its doors, leading some to speculate it was going out of business. At the time, multiple attempts to reach Ms. Iacono by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.

But while The Grind Café did halt activity at the front of its storefront this fall, business at the eatery didn’t cease completely.

“The Grind never closed,” Ms. Iacono said. “We were always doing catering out of the back [of the building]. I just didn’t like the way the front of the building looked, so we painted and refinished the floors completely.”

The refurbishment took around four months to complete, Ms. Iacono said.

“We’re ready to roll now,” she said.

The re-opening isn’t the only new commercial activity going on in the area, as North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse is in the process of renovating the space formerly occupied by The Pizza Pie. Co-owner Patrick Gaeta said he is shooting for a March 1 opening.

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12/06/13 10:00am
12/06/2013 10:00 AM


Suffolk County Community College culinary students will compete against each other at the downtown Riverhead campus Friday, but won’t know what they’re cooking until the event begins.

Much like the reality cooking show Chopped, students will receive a mystery basket of ingredients and asked to turn them into a dish. Judges will be evaluating each one’s creativity, presentation and taste.

The top chef will win a seven-night stay at the Sheraton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Fla., and an opportunity to work under the supervision of the resort’s executive chef. The contest’s “Battle for the Beach” prize also includes round-trip airfare and ground transportation.

“This competition takes students a step closer to becoming professional chefs,” Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts Program director Richard Freilich said in a statement. “It is a great opportunity to help them grow and to see if this is truly a career they want to pursue.”

The free event starts at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

For more information, contact the culinary school at (631) 548-3700.

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11/05/13 10:00am
11/05/2013 10:00 AM
RACHEL YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Patrick Gaeta curing bacon earlier this year.

RACHEL YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Patrick Gaeta curing bacon earlier this year.

When Patrick Gaeta launched North Fork Bacon earlier this year, the Wading River resident’s objective was simple: to offer customers premium bacon, smoked and cured the old-fashioned way, by hand.

North Fork Bacon, which is made from Berkshire pigs sourced out of upstate New York, popped up on the menus of multiple local restaurants this summer, including as a burger topping at Blackwells at Great Rock in Wading River. For a time, it was available for sale in one-pound packages at My Butcher, also in Wading River.

Now Mr. Gaeta, 31, is taking the next step in the future of North Fork Bacon by setting up shop in the retail space formerly occupied by The Pizza Pie, a 13-year-old pizzeria in the historic Wading River business district owned by Mike Roth that closed its doors in October.

Mr. Gaeta, a full-time x-ray technician at Long Island Bone and Joint, received the keys to his new storefront Nov. 4 and is shooting to open for business by March 1, he said. Joining him as a business partner in the venture is his friend and former co-worker, Michael Troyan.

“Lets face it,” Mr. Gaeta said. “Every town you go to has some form of diner, a deli that just blasts out sandwiches, three to five pizzerias and a Chinese food place. I want to bring a style of barbecue and restaurant to the area that many people haven’t seen and aren’t familiar with.”

Last month, Mr. Roth, who is also the president of the Wading River Chamber of Commerce, told the News-Review he might not stay in business much longer.

“I’ll just try to hold on as best I can,” he said at the time.

To better reflect menu offerings — egg sandwiches, omelets, waffles, barbecue sandwiches and cured meats smoked in-house are all planned in addition to bacon — Mr. Gaeta said the name of the business will change to North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse. The restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch, he said, and will only be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the first few months of its debut. To ensure freshness, North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse will close its doors once all the day’s food is gone, Mr. Gaeta said.

“No one wants to see trays of prepared food coming out of the walk-in [freezer] and then heated up,” he said. “We’ll be doing everything fresh daily.”

Despite the fact that many of the storefronts in the historic Wading River business district sit empty, Mr. Gaeta – whose first job was at the now-closed Trotta’s Pizza Café in Wading River, located in the same retail space he’ll be moving into — isn’t concerned about being able to attract customers.

“We’re the only major thoroughfare to Wading River Beach,” he said of the business district’s location at the intersection of Sound Road and North Country Road. “Traffic is always going through there and with a place serving quality food, it’ll bring a crowd.

“I think of where I like to eat,” Mr. Gaeta said. “If the quality is there, it’s worth the trip.”

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11/04/13 9:00am
11/04/2013 9:00 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | A freshly shucked scallop on the half-shell.

Sunrise today marked the official opening of scalloping season on the North Fork.

Area baymen are heading out into state and Southold Town waters in search of the Atlantic bay scallop, found mostly in the small bays and harbors of the Peconic Bay, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Ed Densieski, a baymen from Riverhead said, “you never really know what to expect until the first day of the season.”

He has gone out scouting bay waters for baby scallops, and said he was hopeful it was going to be a good season.

According to the Peconic Estuary Program, during scalloping’s height about 500,000 pounds of bay scallops a season could be harvested from bay waters – equaling almost $2 million in dockside value.

But the scallop population was soon decimated following the first appearance of brown tide in 1985.

The sought-after shellfish has since been making a comeback over the past decade, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

In Southold and Riverhead Town waters, commercial fisherman are limited to five bushels of scallops per person per day.

Two or more people occupying the same boat may take not more than 10 bushels of scallops per day for commercial purposes.

Recreational fisherman can harvest a limit of one bushel per person per day.

10/05/13 10:20pm
10/05/2013 10:20 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | On a beautiful warm afternoon Saturday, a big crowd turned out for the Pour the Core hard cider festival.

Apple season has never tasted so good on the North Fork. The second annual Pour the Core hard cider festival drew more than 2,000 people to Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue Saturday.

To see more photos from the festival, check out Northforker.com.