By DEON J. HAMPTON firstname.lastname@example.org
Four downtown Patchogue restaurant owners are expanding across Long Island in hopes of building on their successes in the village.
The Tap Room, which opened four years ago in Patchogue, is expected to open an establishment in Massapequa Park in six weeks; Public House 49 is expected to open on Deer Park Avenue in Babylon next year, and That Meetball Place will soon open a restaurant in Farmingdale.
Citing Patchogue’s business revitalization in recent years, John Peragine, 43, co-owner of the restaurant PeraBell Food Bar, said he is willing to take business risks and expand beyond the village. In June, he opened an establishment in Riverhead.
“As soon as we opened, it was like gangbusters,” Peragine said of the Riverhead location. “It was a great decision.”
The Village of Patchogue in recent years has focused on revitalizing its downtown area. That revitalization has drawn residents and artists to new apartments as well as visitors from around the region to the restaurants and clubs that have opened. Many local officials attribute the growth of business along Patchogue’s Main Street to the village’s transformation into a hub for young adults seeking nightlife and dining options.
Patchogue has set the Long Island model for downtown revitalization, said David Kennedy, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director.
“New restaurants seem to be the hook to revitalize main streets. A lot of people are seeing that and following through,” he said. “I think the secret to our success is that we are providing a nice mix of culture and restaurants.
“We’re trying to keep young people on Long Island,” he said. “They mainly aren’t here because the cost of living is high, but we didn’t always offer things that they wanted, like arts and entertainment, great infrastructure, public transportation and walkable communities.”
Several years ago, former Patchogue bartender and now Tap Room owner James Bonanno, 31, said he envisioned Patchogue as a vibrant community where people gathered to eat and drink.
“I saw where the village was going,” Bonanno said.
While there is healthy competition between the four restaurants for clientele, they work well together and meet monthly to discuss upcoming events, such as who will host the October Pumpkin Festival.
“Obviously, there is competition, but there is room for all of us to be successful,” said That Meetball Place general manager Jennifer Villasante, 43.
Beyond the growth of Patchogue’s Main Street, Public House 49 co-owner Matthew Murray said he and the other business owners also share one common ingredient for their success.
“We take pride in quality of food,” he said.