By Ryan Dobrin
Long Island is now known as “Hollywood East” thanks to the influx of movies and television shows filming here—and some local restaurants have been used as sets, too, increasing their star power.
Although the Island has yet to see any establishments reach superstardom rivaling the likes of the Cheers bar in Boston or Tom’s Restaurant in Manhattan, aka “The Seinfeld Diner,” the film and TV credits for eateries in Nassau and Suffolk counties run as long as an LI diner menu.
From the Hamptons to the Gold Coast, here are nine establishments that have gone from feeding patrons to appearing on screens big and small.
Ocean at the Crescent Beach Club
333 Bayville Ave., Bayville. cometotheocean.com
This restaurant and catering hall on the North Shore peninsula of Bayville was the location for an outdoor wedding scene in director Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed 2013 dark comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street. [Read The Press‘ Take On The Scam At The Center Of The Film Here, “Skinning The Wolf Of Wall Street” & Convicted Felon/Shoe Guru/Fellow Fraudster Steve Madden Here] Much of the film was set on LI, since Jordan Belfort, who Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed in an Academy-Award nominated role, lived in Old Brookville for part of his life. But, the venue was made to look like the Caribbean island of Anguilla, where DiCaprio is seen marrying his second wife, whose name is changed to Noami Lapaglia and is played by Margot Robbie. The Ocean Restaurant overlooks the tropical scenery, including palm trees, white sands and the Long Island Sound. The Crescent Beach Club has also been a set for the TV shows Person of Interest and Royal Pains. Wait for 0:43 in this behind-the-scenes video:
Louie’s Oyster Bar and Grille
395 Main St., Port Washington. louiesoysterbarandgrille.com
Big laughs were made when this waterfront seafood restaurant was the setting for a major scene in the famous 2000 comedy, Meet the Parents. Ben Stiller’s character, Greg Focker, is vying for the approval of his future father-in-law, Jack Byrnes, played by Robert De Niro. When Stiller loses De Niro’s precious cat, Mr. Jinx, he replaces him with a stray in hopes that his mishap would remain confidential. However, at a pre-wedding party held at Louie’s, De Niro discovers that his cat has been found. The resulting scene is a race back home, with De Niro desperate to prove Stiller’s incompetence. Louie’s sign is displayed prominently in this scene, and the restaurant continues to thrive. Louie’s can be seen in the beginning of this clip from Meet the Parents:
5523 Merrick Road, Massapequa. nautilusdiner.com
It’s only natural that one of LI’s many diners would find their way on TV. Nautilus Diner—which reopened in April after shuttering four years prior—recently made its small-screen debut in the Nov. 16 episode of the new CBS drama series Madam Secretary, which premiered in September. In the episode, Téa Leoni’s Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord is investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding her predecessor’s death in an airplane crash. Her team lures one of the plane technicians with a questionable story to the diner under the pretense of a job interview, before making him confess at a hotel.
1980 Montauk Hwy., Armagansett. lobsterroll.com
Famous in its own right, this seasonal seafood restaurant was the setting of an important moment in the new Showtime mystery series The Affair, which premiered in October. In the first episode, Dominic West’s character, Noah Solloway, and his family, travel to The End on vacation and stop for a bite at the Lobster Roll, where they are served by waitress Alison Lockhart, played by Ruth Wilson. This initial meeting between the characters sets up the titular relationship. The Affair has continued to film in and around Amagansett, and the Lobster Roll is still a major presence on the show. In fact, LI’s own Darren Goldstein plays Oscar Hodges, the villainous owner of the restaurant for the entirety of the first season.
Tim’s Shipwreck Diner
46 Main Street, Northport shipwreckdiner.com
In 1996, Northport turned into Greenleaf, Indiana, when the village became the setting for the Kevin Kline film In & Out, and for a brief period of time, Main Street storefronts were made up to look Midwestern. Amongst the changes, Tim’s Shipwreck Diner, a staple of Northport, turned into Darlene’s Diner for the film. A pivotal scene between Kline’s character Howard Brackett and Peter Malloy, played by Tom Selleck, was filmed inside the eatery. And the family owned and operated diner will soon be featured onscreen again—this time on television. A spin-off of Extreme Makeover Home Edition, entitled American Diner Revival filmed its pilot at the restaurant, revamping the design. The show is expected to air on the Food Network at a date that has yet to be released.
307 Old Country Rd., Carle Place cafeformaggio.com
The 2010 film Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams as Becky Fuller and Harrison Ford as Mike Pomeroy, might not have fared too well at the box office. But, any Long Islanders who saw it would recognize the local scenery. The opening scene was set in Café Formaggio, a well-known, high-end Italian restaurant in Carle Place. The scene is a first date between McAdams and actor Noah Bean, which goes disastrously due to McAdams’ obsession with her job. This sets up one of the main themes of the movie—McAdams valuing professional life over personal.
Biscuits and Barbeque
106 East 2nd St., Mineola biscuitsandbarbecue.com
This local eatery also made a cameo in Morning Glory, but at the time it was known as Kiss the Chef. The restaurant, which has since been converted into a Southern comfort food diner, was included in one shot in the movie. In it, McAdams is seen speaking on her phone while playing Fuller.
The Plaza Restaurant
752 Montauk Point State Parkway, Montauk
Although it is no longer in business, this small diner was the set of one of the opening scenes of the 2004 romantic drama, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film, which includes the repeated phrase “Meet me in Montauk,” largely features the hamlet on the easternmost tip of the South Fork. It is where Jim Carrey’s character, Joel Barish, first meets Clementine Kruczynski, played by Kate Winslet, beginning their ultimately disastrous relationship. Carrey first spots Winslet in the Plaza, admiring her blue hair from afar, and muses on his incredibly quick ability to fall in love. They don’t speak, however, until they are riding home on the Long Island Rail Road. Montauk continues to play a role in the film, as Carrey’s subconscious continually brings him to the town while he is erasing his memories of Winslet. The film’s climatic sequence takes place in a large beach house set in Montauk, although the house is actually in Wainscott.
Oheka Castle Bar and Restaurant
125 Westgate Drive, Huntington oheka.com
The hotel, restaurant and catering hall known as Oheka Castle may be the most famous address on LI. Although it regularly appears in movies and on TV, the scenes aren’t in the restaurant. But, since it has a restaurant, we’ll include it on this list. The castle was one of the inspirations for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novella The Great Gatsby and was the site of numerous celebrity weddings. Most notably, shots of the castle were used to portray the lavish mansion in Orson Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane in 1941. Additionally, the castle was used in the film What Happens in Vegas in 2008, the TV shows Royal Pains the following year and Gossip Girl two years ago. Most recently, it was the set of Taylor Swift’s music video for her new hit, “Blank Space.”