There will be two highly anticipated openings on Shelter Island this summer, Clark’s Fish House and Salt at the Island Boatyard, both of which are focusing on casual, fresh food in laid-back environments. Maria’s in the Center, which actually debuted in April, continues to expand its menu and hours, and the Islander has officially replaced Pat & Steve’s in the hearts and minds of locals.
Keith Bavaro and Alison Bevilacqua have taken over the restaurant space at The Island Boatyard, which was unoccupied last summer. The partners, who worked together at Sweet Tomato’s, have envisioned Salt as “a casual place where you can wear your board shorts and flip flops, with the emphasis on fresh, not fancy food,” said Mr. Bavaro.
The opening menu features two types of sliders, pulled jerk chicken and Black Angus beef, as well as Thai curry mussels and extra crispy, twice-fried French fries with garlic aioli. “We wanted to have a lot of small plates so people could share good food and conversation and enjoy a drink, all at reasonable prices,” Mr. Bavaro said.
In the space next to Salt, the partners are opening the Shelter Island Wine Dock, which Mr. Bavaro describes as “Shelter Island’s first satellite tasting room.” Working in partnership with Jamesport Vineyards, the Wine Dock will offer weekly tastings from vineyards around New York State, including the North Fork, South Fork and those in the upstate Finger Lakes area. “With a tasting room license,” Mr. Bavaro explained, “we’ll be able to sell by the bottle or the case.” Both ventures, he said, “are designed to bring The Island Boatyard back to being a resort destination.”
Clark’s Fish House, the brainchild of Joe Clark and his son, Sawyer, will be opening in June in the premises formerly occupied by Two Eds and before that Chips.
According to Joe Clark, the restaurant will be offering “easy food, in a throwback to when the space was known as Chip’s,” as well as a small fish market. “It will be very casual, very laid back; an easy place to be,” said Mr. Clark. Fresh-caught fish from Mr. Clark’s brother, Kenny, and, Sawyer, will have pride of place. “They’ll be out fishing in the morning and we’ll be serving up their catch in the evenings,” he explained. The market will be open daily from 11 a.m. The restaurant, which will initially serve only dinner and will have a license for wine and beer, will be open from 5 to10 p.m. Both businesses will be closed on Tuesday.
At Maria’s Kitchen on Jaspa Road, formerly the home of Greeney’s, Maria Schultheis and Jillian Kotula are whipping up batches of smoothies and organic “green juice” to go with their fresh Mexican specialties and other menu items. They will be extending their hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the summer (except Sundays, when the shop will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) so you can enjoy their burritos, tacos, homemade tortillas and Mexican sandwiches, as well as wraps, traditional sandwiches, salads, hot breakfast items and daily specials, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For stress-free entertaining, you can order up Maria’s guacamole and salsas by the pound. The shop also carries a selection of ethnic grocery items, as well as produce.
CHANGES AT OLD FAVORITES
Once known primarily for its fish market and extraordinary skillet fried chicken, Commander Cody’s has steadily been expanding its offerings. In addition to its regular menu, which emphasizes “the Commander’s” fresh, locally caught fish, you’ll find lobster and shrimp rolls, as well as a daily $8 lunch menu that features a fried flounder or pulled pork sandwich, shrimp and hush puppies or a Peruvian bay scallop plate. Top this off with one of Amanda’s homemade desserts and you’ll have a feast that can be enjoyed on the flower-bordered patio or taken to the nearest beach for a great picnic.
Over at the Pridwin at Crescent Beach, Glenn Petrie is enthusiastic about the renovations that are being made to the resort to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the season his parents Dick and Edie took over. “We’re restoring the classic aspects of the hotel,” he said, to refresh and update it. Spaces are lighter and brighter and, when the restaurant opens to the public on June 24, a new chef will be in place with a menu that will emphasize the “Pridwin-caught” fish. The ever-popular Wednesday night barbecues will continue, commencing for the season on June 27.
The Chequit Inn is welcoming back chef Oscar Muñiz for the 2012 season. He had last been at the Inn in 2007. Since then, Mr. Muniz has honed his craft at restaurants such as the exclusive Horned Dorset Primavera of Rincon, Puerto Rico, the Jedediah Hawkins House in Jamesport and, most recently, as one of the chefs for the governor of Puerto Rico. According to Liz Eklund, his menu will deliver great international dishes and incorporate seasonally fresh and local ingredients.
The nightly specials that the Chequit is known for will remain, from the infamous Monday “Burger Night” to Tuesday’s “Service Industry Night” and Wednesday’s “Lobster Fest.”
Joe Smith, the former chef at the Ram’s Head Inn, will also be returning this season, after spending time in the Southwest and up-island, where he was most recently the banquet chef at The Waters’ Edge in Long Island City.
An avid gardener, Mr. Smith has taken on the Ram’s Head Inn’s three private gardens, thus ensuring the freshest produce to complement his locally-sourced dishes such as Long Island duck and bass.
Ashley Knight and Chris Chobar have put their stamp on the Islander, renaming, redecorating and revitalizing the former Pat & Steve’s. They’ve added a brilliant mural of Shelter Island by local artist Catherine Needham Brigham, some new menu items and a line-up of special nights, including Burger Night on Monday and Trivia Night on Thursday. Breakfast and lunch are served seven days a week, dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Beer and wine are now available.
If you’re looking for a Starbucks-like option on Shelter Island, grab your laptop and head over to the Whale’s Tale for specialty coffees, filled-to-order cannoli, homemade lemonade and, of course, ice cream. You can sit indoors or out, logging onto the Whale’s Tale Wi-Fi while watching the kids play a round of mini golf. The tennis court has re-opened for summer rentals and the annual Mini Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, August 4 at 6 p.m. While you’re there, check out their exclusive line of T-shirts that change color in the sun.
Down on Bridge Street, Cordon Bleu-trained chef Carrie Mitchum will be cooking at the Dory this summer. Ms. Mitchum’s menu will feature Long Island eggrolls, bouillabaisse, plenty of local fish and seafood as well as homemade desserts.
— JO-ANN ROBOTTI