Patchogue Village sees expansion and change through the opening of several new bars and restaurants

The Cheese Patch is a specialty cheese shop located in Patchogue. COSETTE NUÑEZ / MORETHANBAGELS

By Cosette NuAi??ez

ai???Run-down,ai??? ai???old fashioned,ai??? and ai???emptyai??? — all words that used to describe the area. Ai??

ai???Fifteen years ago, Patchogue was a different place,ai??? David Kennedy, Executive Director of the Greater Patchogue Commerce said. ai???It was going through a period of relative decline.ai???

Ten restaurants opened in the Village of Patchogue in 2016, according to Sarno and Kennedy. This trend is now at an all time high with five more restaurants set to open within the next six months.

In 1996, there were three restaurants on downtown Main Street according to Kennedy. The BrickHouse Brewery used to be one of the lone restaurants in the area twenty years ago.

ai???We were kind of the forefathers if you will, of this movement in Patchogue to revitalize it,ai??? Maud Franklin, General Manager of the BrickHouse, said. Ai??

In 2001, the Village of Patchogue conducted a study for the purpose of improving the existing businesses in the town. Their findings showed that Main Street had a 42 percent commercial vacancy rate, the highest in Suffolk County. Ai??

ai???Patchogue kind of died like a lot of small towns,ai??? Barbara Slah, a 40-year resident of East Patchogue said. She attributed this decline to the changing economy and the lack of support for local family owned stores. Ai??

Slah says she passes Main Street at least five times a day, as her house is on one end and her business is on the other. Slah says she has seen first-hand the rapid change that new restaurants and bars have made on the village. Ai??

ai???Long Island is known as the land of ai???no,ai??i?? especially when it comes to new affordable housing,ai??? Kennedy said. He commends the Mayor of Patchogue, Paul V. Pontieri, for pushing forward plans for new apartment housing units which ended up attracting younger people into the community. Ai??

Other owners in the area have also noticed a significant change on Main Street. Ai??

ai???You come down here Saturday night, the foot traffic here is insane now and this is something you didn’t see three years ago, it just keeps getting busier and busier,ai??? John Sarno, owner of Village Idiot Pub in Patchogue, said. Ai??Ai??

This rapid growth of new eateries and bars has attracted a younger more adventurous crowd. Ai??

ai???Itai??i??s insane,ai??? Cheese Patch owner Paige Pfeifer said. ai???As far as the night time after ten o’clock, it definitely shifts over to a young twenties crowd.ai???

Slah, 63, said while she is not into the drinking scene, it is still nice to see the town alive. Her friend, Jayne Dion, first visited the Village of Patchogue 15 years ago in the summer. Ai??

ai???It was a run-down old town,ai??? Dion said. She visits from California every two years or so and says she enjoys seeing the town progress. Her visit to Rhumai??i??s, a new Rum Bar that opened last December, has got her thinking about expanding her art business to Patchogue. Ai??

ai???Success brings more success,ai??? Kennedy said, in reference to restaurateurs becoming inspired by the new atmosphere the village of Patchogue has to offer.

Del Fuego, a Tex-Mex restaurant, opened two years ago after owner Leo DeNicola heard that Patchogue, specifically Main Street was the ai???itai??? place to be.

ai???We knew Patchogue was coming up, it had a good buzz, newer restaurants were moving into the area and we wanted to get in on the Patchogue buzz,ai??? DeNicola said. Ai??

The Village IdiotAi??Pub also saw an increase in success over the past couple of years. Owner Sarno has made the decision to open another restaurant on the Patchogue waterfront. Ai??

ai???It could be a life changer and itai??i??s going to be called Drift 82 right by the Patchogue river,ai??? Sarno said.

The restaurant is set to open during Memorial Day weekend. Ai??

The new restaurant is not the only thing coming to Patchogue this summer. Ai??Events such as the Live After Five festival are set to begin in just a couple of weeks. Ai??Last yearai??i??s average attendance was around 30,000 people, according to Kennedy. Alive After Five has attracted many new businesses to participate. Kennedy says he expects even more people to attend this year because it has become known as one of Long Islandai??i??s largest street festivals. Ai??

The secondAi??Patchogue Breakfast crawl of the spring is planned for May 20 on Main Street. Nine restaurants participated in 2016 and eleven have registered for this yearai??i??s event. The money raised in ticket sales will benefit the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on East Main Street. Ai??
ai???Itai??i??s a win win and it puts money back into other things for Patchogue,ai??? Sarno said. Ai??

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