The Riverhead Project opens; Cody’s BBQ to follow

05/27/2011 5:58 AM |

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Owner Dennis McDermott at The Riverhead Project bar on Monday after wrapping up his first weekend open for business.

One new restaurant has just opened in downtown Riverhead. And another is on the way.

The Riverhead Project, owned by Dennis McDermott and located in the former Chase bank building on East Main Street, officially opened for business Friday. It will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks to the west on East Main Street, Cody’s BBQ and Grill is slated to open in mid-June in the space formerly occupied by Casa Rica, said Vic Prusinowski, a commercial real estate agent who is managing the business.

Mr. McDermott, who formerly owned the Frisky Oyster and Frisky Oyster Bar restaurants in Greenport, said it took him only five months between the time he took over the building and the time the restaurant opened.

“Riverhead Town has been very helpful and supportive,” he said, naming Supervisor Sean Walter, building inspector Leroy Barnes and community development director Chris Kempner specifically.

Mr. McDermott described the menu at the Riverhead Project as “contemporary American, with Asian and vegetarian influences,” and the decor as “the current version of mid-century modern, with a little Palm Springs and Miami  influences.”

He described the Main Street location as ideal.

“I have a lot of faith in Riverhead,” he said. “It has so much potential. Everybody I meet is wonderful. I went to the Star Confectionery recently, great guy. Everything that’s occupied is wonderful.”

Cody’s BBQ and Grill, meanwhile, hasn’t even opened yet and is drawing raves for some of the murals on the wall.

They’ve got one of Buffalo Bill Cody riding a bull, and another of “a big American flag with our Cowboy girl,” said Mr. Prusinowski, also a former Riverhead Town councilman.

The murals were painted by artist and blues musician Frank Latorre of Eastport, who was recommended by East End Arts Council executive director Pat Snyder, Mr. Prusinowski said.

“We had some price quotes from guys in New York City, but we went with the local guy,” he said. “He did a beautiful job. Everybody’s talking about our murals.”

As for the restaurant, it will be “family-style barbecue,” Mr. Prusinowski said. “We’ll have steaks, burgers, seafood and also authentic barbecue fair. Basically, everything you would expect from a barbecue restaurant.”

Cody’s also will be a sports bar, with 10 televisions situated throughout the restaurant, Mr. Prusinowski said. It will be located in the same formerly occupied by Casa Rica, which was closed down earlier this year after numerous violent incidents were reported there, and the state moved to revoke their liquor license.

Building owner Richard Gherardi had operated a restaurant there himself, called Michael’s, prior to Casa Rica. Mr. Gherardi also has a restaurant in East Hampton, where he lives.

Mr. Prusinowski said he had been in the restaurant business himself many years ago, running the now-gone Grey Goose in Aquebogue.

“I think we have a good business model here,” Mr. Prusinowski said. “We’re doing our part to bring back Riverhead.”

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Check out more Riverhead Project photos at its Facebook fan page.



6 Comment

  • I’ll be happy to see the new addition of “art work” taken off the stop signs.
    Thank you TOB for caring about our community.

  • Sadly, few local residents attended. The crosswalk by the church on Main Street is a great improvement to safety on 25A in Rocky Point. Some of the other improvements suggested will also improve our community safety. Only a handful of local residents showed however. Many seek town improvements in their neighborhoods. It’s times like these that people should turn out and thank our elected officials for what they do and participate in making suggestions for future improvements. Yes, we often struggle with our elected officials, but when good things are hppening, we should also show our appreciation.

  • Well, since must of us probably have jobs and cannot participate in a middle-of-the-day photo op during the week, we’ll just have to “appreciate” our crosswalk from afar. Give me a break already.

  • Well, since I am sure most of us have jobs, it is a little tough to attend a mid-week, mid-afternoon photo-op session. While I am glad that we have a new “crosswalk” for people who aren’t even walking through Rocky Point, since there is really nothing to walk to except some pizza joints & salons, I find it hard to get as excited about it as you. Seems like more attention should be paid to actually getting the area to look nicer – and I’m not talking about light poles. How about fixing up some of the buildings that look like they are ready to fall over? Or removing some of the graffiti on our signs?

  • Geez, did you even read the article? It wasn’t a “new” crosswalk, it was just repainting an existing one so it doesn’t look like crap… and it leads to a local church, where presumably some people WILL be walking.

    “Seems like more attention should be paid to actually getting the area to look nicer”
    You mean by doing things like picking up litter, replacing damaged street signs, cracking down on slumlords, and eliminating some of the neighborhood blights… all things mentioned in the article?

    I’m with Carol – thank you TOB for caring about our community… even if some people are too ungrateful to appreciate it.

  • Let’s stop bickering and appreciate the attention and assistance we are getting. I think most people in our community work, some even hold multiple jobs. Everyone can do something. Simple actions like bringing in your garbage cans, picking up trash that is in front of your home – even if you didn’t toss it there, shopping locally, curbing your dog…will make a big impact. We have a charming community with a very unique history. We should show our pride, not waste our energy being defensive.