Maia Vines


Try Three Cultural Cuisines At These New Restaurants on Long Island

new restaurants on long island
Hook & Reel is opening two more LI locales. (Photo by Rachel Ayotte)

Ready to spice things up a bit? Here are three new restaurants on Long Island that serve different kinds of tasty, cultural cuisine.


Peri-Peri Guys founder Hafeez Raja has brought traditional South African spices to Nassau County. Peri-peri sauce is made from African bird’s eye chili peppers and has a history dating back to the 15th century. 

Wings ($7.89-$14.89) can be served with peri-peri sauce, and burgers and sandwiches ($9.89-$15.89) with peri-peri mayo. The choice of spice level is yours. Choose from plain, lemon and herb, mango and lime, mild, hot, and lastly, extra hot. Sides include mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, peri rice, and peri-peri fries ($3.99-$4.99).

Peri-Peri Guys is open Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. The restaurant offers dine-in service, takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery. A third local location is coming soon to South Shore Mall in Bay Shore.

285 South Broadway, Hicksville, 516-470-0303, periperiguys.com


With locations in more than 20 states, this Cajun seafood restaurant’s second Long Island outpost — its first opened at Hicksville’s Broadway Mall — in Valley Stream.

Hook & Reel’s menu offers a selection of made-to-order seafood boils as well as half-pound mini-boils ($8-$15.50). If you prefer not to create your own, there are always combo boils, the biggest being “the reel catch”: snow crab leg clusters, lobster tails, and a choice of two more options ($49). Seafood lovers can also enjoy their breaded-and-fried lobster tail, shrimp, catfish, flounder, and shrimp baskets ($12). All baskets come with regular or sweet potato fries.

Hook & Reel is open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, seven days a week.

694 Sunrise Hwy., Valley Stream, 516-460-8411, hookreel.com


Named after the Greek word for “together,” Mazi aims to bring people together with classic Mediterranean dishes.

This Greek kitchen serves steak kebab platters ($29), souvlaki, New Zealand lamb chops ($34), chicken or beef and lamb gyros, and spanakopita, a savory spinach, and cheese pie ($12). Gyros and souvlaki are offered as both platters ($19) and pita sandwiches ($12). Look nowhere else for dessert either. Mazi has many options: chocolate cake, ice cream, baklava, fruit salad, Greek yogurt, and galaktoboureko, a pastry made with custard and honey syrup ($8).

Offering dine-in service as well as takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery, Mazi is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

326 West Jericho Tpke., Huntington, 631-425-1196, maziny.com

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We Connect The Dots Fosters Future Innovators in STEAM

we connect the dots
Student participating in a prior We Connect The Dots STEAM activity.

We Connect the Dots has been inspiring and creating opportunities for underprivileged children and young adults interested in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) since 2013.

With women making up only 27 percent of the nation’s computer science professionals, the Westbury organization was created to include more women; its mission has expanded since then. Students can form career goals and receive real-world experience through innovative programs. Most participating students are from the tri-state area, specifically Nassau and Suffolk County.

“We help under-utilized populations find out about these opportunities and learn about the skills that they really need,” said Laurie Carey, founder of WCTD. 

The nonprofit’s virtual coding programs teach computational skills necessary for a career in STEAM. Students collaborate on projects and earn accomplishment pins. Students in the Community Ambassador Program can also teach coding classes to beginner students.

“I’ve interned at NASA and I’m not sure that’s something I would have had the opportunity to do without some of the experiences I’ve had with We Connect the Dots and other high school programs,” said Caeley Looney, a former WCTD ambassador who founded a nonprofit for women in STEM, Reinvented Magazine.

WCTD also hosts an annual Code-A-Thon, where youth learn and advance their coding and technical skills. This year’s fully virtual Code-A-Thon takes place from January 29 to 31.

WTCD offers scholarships, including one for the after-school coding program as well as the Code-A-Thon. The CreatingSTEAM Summer Program awards a student with $1,350 for the 10-day program’s expenses and transportation.

Computer science teachers are also trained by industry experts in WCTD so that they can teach skills to their own students, according to Carey.

“It’s really about a community impact, not just the students but the teachers, the whole community,” Carey said, calling the program a really amazing model that brings people together. “They say, ‘Hey, I got through this, I created a career here, let me go back and be a coach…or a trainer for somebody else and help other students.’” 

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These 3 Eateries Are The Newest Additions To Long Island’s Dining Scene

long island's dining scene
The Parmesan garlic charbroiled oysters at The Harp & Hound.

Looking for a new place to wine and dine, or maybe grab some dessert? Here are three new eateries that have recently opened on Long Island.


NoFoDoCo’s handcrafted donuts have been a hit since the shop’s opening two years ago which is why another location has opened up in Bay Shore.

The donut shop sells daily classic flavors like glaze, cinnamon sugar, strawberry OG, vanilla OG, and chocolate OG as well as specialty flavors, caramel coffee cake, Boston cream, and black raspberry jelly ($3.50-$4). Additional flavors can be found on the weekly schedules on their website.

Currently, NoFoDoCo’s Bay Shore location is only offering in-store pick-up.

5 East Main St., Bay Shore, 631-298-7941, nofodoco.com


This Irish-American pub and restaurant gets its name from Guinness’  harp emblem and the Irish wolfhound.

Known for excellent service and tasty appetizers, the restaurant serves up shepherd’s pie ($19.95), Irish chicken curry ($23.95), grilled lamb chops ($15.95), short-rib sliders ($13.95) or the hound burger, an 8-ounce patty with lettuce and tomato, served on a sesame bun ($13.95). You can also choose from French onion soup ($5.95) or potato soup ($6.95) and specialty cocktails.

The Harp & Hound is open 7 days a week, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

528 Main St., Islip, 631-446-4854, theharpandhoundny.com


Owner and chef Hunter Wells’ take on Mediterranean cuisine sets this upscale eatery apart from many others. 

Hunter serves a wide range of meats, Scottish salmon ($29), pan-roasted chicken ($28), duck ($34), and veal chop ($58), as well as sides, including ratatouille, saffron couscous, and snow pea leaf sauté ($10). Bring someone to dine with and share paella, rib steak or a rack of lamb from its meals for two ($42-68). For dessert, there’s something for everyone, from mini butter madeleines to pistachio parfait ($10).

Hunter is open for dining Tuesdays through Sundays, after 4 p.m.

1053 Oyster Bay Rd., East Norwich, 516-624-8330, hunterrestaurant.com 

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Retired NFL Player Boomer Esiason Fundraises To Helps Fellow East Islip Native

Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason talks on the phone to help raise funds for charity. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Retired NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason recently announced on his show The Morning Show with Boomer & Gio that he is raising money to help Colleen Celentano, a fellow East Islip native who is in danger of losing her home.

Celentano has been a Home Depot employee for more than 20 years but can no longer afford to keep her house and also pay her mother’s costly medical bills. After suffering a stroke two years ago, her mother is currently on life support. Esiason heard about Celentano’s story from her friend and coworker, Susan Palladino. 

“With the help of Susan Palladino, Home Depot, and some of my friends, we want to make a difference for Colleen,” Esiason said on the show.

The Boomer Esiason Foundation contributes to advancing cystic fibrosis research but Esiason realized that he would need assistance outside of his foundation to help Celentano, who is autistic. The show host reached out to Winters Center for Autism in West Babylon, and it set up a donation page for Celentano called “Help Colleen Preserve Her Home.”

“Diagnosed with autism as a child, and an East Islip resident for more than 40 years, Celentano stands to lose everything she has worked so hard for,” the Winters Center for Autism tweeted

Prior to the podcast episode, Home Depot employees and East Islip residents raised $11,000, and Esiason has agreed to match the first $25,000 raised. As of December, more than 1,600 contributors have donated.

“We’re almost there! Please help if you can,” Esiason tweeted on Dec. 5. “It’s not the amount we each give, it’s the amount of people who give. I can’t thank all of you who have given personally. I wish I could. Please know that I’m eternally grateful for all of your donations.”

During the Boomer & Gio show, fans called in to share encouraging words and promises to donate. Palladino also called in and voiced that she has witnessed a positive change in Celentano due to all the support and contributions. 

“It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas for Colleen,” Palladino said.

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Hope For Youth Helps Most Vulnerable During Pandemic, Holiday Season

hope for youth
Hope For Youth volunteers prepare gifts for homeless kids.

Founded more than 50 years ago, Hope For Youth provides support and residential services to youth and families across Long Island. The nonprofit kicks off the holiday season with its fourth annual Hope for the Holidays drive.

HFY staff members began coordinating their drive in November to distribute gifts to youth, from toddlers to 19-year-olds, in time for the holidays. Holiday Wish List 2020, a public Amazon wish list, gives donors and contributors options for items to donate. This year’s wish list features board games, action figures, hair accessories, and clothing, among other gifts. 

“Hopefully we get all of our deliveries in one week so they can be rapidly distributed to the kids for the holidays,” Tenaya Parchment, development associate and head of the holiday drive, said. 

Donors include local businesses, schools, community organizations, and churches. St. Frances de Chantal Parish Social Ministry in Wantagh is a major yearly contributor to the drive. Parishioners purchase gifts for the children, many of whom reside in group homes, and the ministry gives them to HFY for distribution. 

“It’s a beautiful experience, seeing the level of people caring,” said Ele-Ruth Melendez, director of the Parish Social Ministry. “There’s a lot of love and I see it, so that’s the best part.”

With more than 700,000 unaccompanied minors experiencing homelessness nationwide each year, HFY offers temporary homes to children in need of traditional, therapeutic, or emergency foster care settings. Most youth are referred by both Nassau and Suffolk Departments of Social Services. Training and certification programs are also provided to foster care families through HFY.

The coronavirus outbreak caused substantial spikes in national unemployment, with homelessness also skyrocketing, but HFY’s 24/7 Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter has remained open. The shelter program, located in Babylon, offers workshops and tutoring to teenagers and young adults, 14 to 20 years old. Facing a $100,000 cut to their 2021 budget, HFY is organizing a Save Our Shelter fundraiser to service displaced and homeless youth in Suffolk County.

“Keeping the doors open in our shelter is a priority,” Parchment said. “It’s the only teen shelter of its kind in Suffolk County.”

HFY is not seeing volunteers for the holiday drive this year, but more information on services or contributions can be found on its website, hfyny.org

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3 New Restaurants To Try on Long Island

The Blue Crab Beignets at Hooks & Chops.


Mangia Bene has been bringing classic Italian dishes to Rockville Centre’s diverse food scene since its opening in September. 

This Italian eatery gives pasta lovers a large selection to choose from, including linguine di mare ($13-$24), The Parms — breaded and pan-fried veal or chicken ($19-$32), bucatini carbonara and garganelli Siciliano with Sicilian eggplant, ricotta and tomatoes ($10-$19). Mangia Bene offers specialty pizzas such as garden, pesto and Margherita, and an option to customize your own pizza ($12-plus).

As part of its aperitivo specials, the bar serves appetizers and drinks from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays.

14 South Park Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-447-6744, mangiabenervc.com


Lessing Hospital Group’s new “ghost” kitchen, taking orders for delivery only, specializes in Southern comfort food. 

Mother Cluckers’ chicken sandwiches, buttermilk crispy chicken ($10), California style ($11) and Nashville hot chicken ($10), can be served with coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese or seasoned house fries ($3.50). Customers can also try the special “what the cluck??!!” sandwich with pickles, applewood smoked bacon, banana peppers, fried onions and Alabama white barbecue sauce on a toasted pretzel bun ($12). 

This virtual kitchen delivers from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. every day through DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub.



At Hooks & Chops, Executive Chef Steven Del Lima combines both land and seafood options for a well-rounded dining experience.

Grilled Ōra king salmon, ricotta cavatelli, Florida red snapper, peanut-crusted filet mignon and New York strip steak frites are just a few of this seafood chophouse’s menu items ($27-$39). Choose from an assortment of desserts such as baked Alaska ($12), Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée ($10) and cheesecake with berries, vanilla anglaise and whipped cream ($10) or dessert wines ($10-$23).

Hooks & Chops is open for dining after 5 p.m, Monday through Saturday and after 4 p.m. on Sundays. Enjoy selections from their happy hour menu anytime from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

6330 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-600-0521, hooksandchops.com

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Canine Companions for Independence Saluting Independence Veterans Day Event Goes Virtual

A Canine Companion for hearing quietly lies and awaits any task she may need to perform (Getty Images)

Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities, is turning its annual Veterans Day ceremony into a virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event on Nov. 11, titled Saluting Independence event, will recognize those who have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and the War Against Terrorism. Saluting Independence raises money for initiatives that provide assistance dogs to veterans with disabilities.

“As we draw closer to Veterans Day and celebrate the service that America’s men and women have dedicated to the country,” said Debra Dougherty, executive director of the group, who is located at the organization’s Medford-based northeast region training center. “This also is a time to champion the companions that assist the veterans who have returned with combat injuries and need a little extra support in their lives.”

Two years ago, the organization created a Veterans Initiative program, placing service dogs with military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The dogs are not only trained for basic tasks like item retrieval and turning on lights but also help in situations that may cause anxiety, such as night interruptions or crowded public spaces. More fundraising efforts will be made to expand the program this year.

“The service dogs create new opportunities and new possibilities for people that lead to increased independence and confidence,” Dougherty said.

Serving people who have varying mental and physical challenges, the nonprofit has gained international recognition and support from all over Long Island and beyond. Kevin Schmidt from Islip Terrace says that his service dog, Kip, makes his life better.

“It’s been tough, and he gives me a smile every day. It’s called Canine Companions, but the companion part is what really fulfills me,” Schmidt said.

At the Saluting Independence ceremony, Capt. Victor Prato of East Marion and his service dog, Barbossa, will be honored. Prato, a Purple Heart recipient who was wounded three years ago while serving in Afghanistan, is the president of the PenFed Foundation, helping veterans and military service members with housing, financial, and care-giving opportunities.

“I knew that a perfect fit for me would be to get a dog that could be my companion and be with me as I navigate the world now,” Prato said. “Barbossa is my rock.” 

Registration is required to receive access to the event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 11. Register at cci.org/salutingindependence. Suggested donation is $75. Canine Companions can be reached at 1-800-572-BARK (2275).

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Long Island Entertainers Renew Calls For COVID-19 Relief


Long Island entertainment industry leaders renewed Friday their push for Congress to pass legislation that would bail out businesses struggling to bounce back after being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Save Our Stages Act, which would provide financial relief for music venues, theaters, and others in the entertainment industry, is pending in the U.S. Senate after passing last month in the U.S. House of Representatives. Some in the industry have gotten creative while it waits for help to arrive. 

“We pivoted to bring our Adventureland family to the Long Island community,” Steve Gentile, managing partner and owner of Adventureland in Farmingdale, said of the amusement park switching to drive-in movies and drive-in concerts this summer.

Amusement parks and large concert venues statewide were closed along with most other businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus when its spread peaked in New York in March. But such venues were among a handful of industries that were left out of the fourth and final phase of the reopening plan. So were gyms, bowling alleys, casinos, malls, and movie theaters, but those industries were belatedly allowed to reopen.

“This is something I haven’t seen in my 30 years of doing this,” said Brian Rosenberg, an entertainment industry publicist. 

Supporters previously started a petition urging New York State to allow Adventureland to reopen. Its normal season would have ended last month. Now Gentile is hoping it will get the green light to resume operations in the spring.

“I’ve learned as we’ve gone through the pandemic that one of the most important things you can do is two-fold,” said Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer. “Listen to the medical professionals and listen to the operation professionals.”

Related Story: Laser Bounce Family Fun Center Owner Calls on Cuomo To Reopen Attractions

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Peconic Bay Scallop Harvest A Bust, Again

Getty Images

Baymen who ply the waters off the East End suffered a major blow to their harvests when most adult Peconic Bay scallops died off last year and this harvest season, which started Monday, looks equally unpromising, experts say.

Concerns are growing over the lack of adult bay scallops found in Town of Southampton bays. Biologists from the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) say that most Peconic Estuary scallops died this summer. Rising water temperatures and a parasite found in the kidneys of adult and juvenile scallops are believed to be the cause.

“The discovery of a protozoan parasite in bay scallops from Peconic Bays represents a significant threat to this commercially important fishery,” Commissioner Basil Seggos of the Department of Environmental Conservation said.

This summer, Dr. Stephen Tettelbach, a shellfish ecologist from the CCE, and his researchers found similar indicators of issues that led to the deaths of the previous scallop population. Surveys conducted showed that 95 percent of the bay scallops died last year. Officials hatched a plan to try to restore the scallop fishery.

“We will continue to lead innovative programs to improve water quality and restore valuable shellfish populations,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated in a letter issued to the U.S. Department of Commerce last year.

But the issue goes beyond water quality. Ecosystems are rapidly changing as a result of climate change, according to the Peconic Estuary Partnership. Warmer ocean temperatures are more susceptible to the harmful effects of nutrient pollution, the excessive input of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in bodies of water, another concern for scientists and baymen.

The impact will certainly be felt immediately in the local economy, hitting baymen who work the waters harvesting the prized scallops during the winter season, markets that sell them and numerous restaurants who have eager clientele awaiting the arrival of bay scallop dishes on menus. As for the future, while studies are underway to discover more about the cause, this may well serve as a warning of larger, long-term environmental issues facing local waters.

Recreational scallop harvesters must wait until Nov. 8 in East Hampton town waters, and commercial harvesters there can’t begin until on Nov. 9.

-With Dan’s Papers

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Where To Dine Out on Long Island For a Mess-Free Thanksgiving

Long Island restaurants are taking reservations now for Turkey Day. (Getty Images)

The holidays can be a stressful and chaotic time. The preparations, cooking, and baking, can be time-consuming. But many restaurants have opted to reopen and are featuring Thanksgiving menus so you and your family can celebrate with less stress.

Many of the island’s well-known eateries, like Luigi’s in New Hyde Park, and new additions like Revel in Garden City are welcoming customers for a stress-free and mess-free dining alternative. 

You can choose comfort food, Italian dishes, seafood, or steakhouse staples. Chow down on specialty pies, cheesecakes, and ice cream. For adults, many restaurants have extensive wine and cocktail menus. Here is a list of places that will be taking reservations so you don’t have to worry about Thanksgiving food shopping this year:

Luigi’s signature Italian dishes have been a staple in New Hyde Park for more than 25 years. 265-21 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 718-347-7136, luigisnewhydepark.com ($10-$35)

Located in what used to be the Nassau County Trust, Davenport Press Restaurant serves a variety of tastes from escargot to filet mignon. 70 Main Street, Mineola, 516-248-8300, davenportpress.com ($15-$38)

This family friendly eatery is known for its classic Cuban apps and entrees, including chicken sofrito empanadas and ropa vieja. 630 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-739-7900, havanacentral.com ($7-$29)

Pantry, located in Rockville Center, is introducing a three-course Thanksgiving menu just in time for the holidays. $40 for adults and $19 for kids younger than 10. 525 Merrick Rd., Rockville Centre, 516-766-8848, pantrydiner.com ($10-$34)

City Cellar’s stunning venue and wine list is perfect for any special occasion. 1080 Corporate Dr., Westbury, 516-693-5400, citycellarny.com ($15-44)

If you love seafood or sushi, this establishment offers a fusion of both, along with duck and steak. 3340 Park Ave., Wantagh, 516-221-8022, thomthomrestaurant.com ($7-$39)

H2O’s upscale menu features seasonal seafood, from lobster surf and turf to sashimi platters, as well as land-lover options. 215 W. Main St., Smithtown, 631-361-6464, smithtown.h2oseafoodsushi.com ($8-39)

Tellers Chophouse offers a variety of American dishes, served in its indoor dining area on the backyard patio. 605 Main St., Islip, 631-277-7070, tellerschophouse.com (Dinner: $50+)

Customers can enjoy contemporary cocktails and authentic Japanese Kobe beef at this Melville steakhouse. 10 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, 631-271-7780, blackstonesteakhouse.com ($6-40+)

This airy venue provides coastal seafood and American cuisine. 55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, 631-498-6188, sandbarcoldspringharbor.com ($10-45)

View’s Thanksgiving Dinner Prix Fixe menu offers tasty appetizers like lobster bisque and shrimp cocktail along with your choice of turkey, salmon, or steak. 3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale, 631-589-2694, lessings.com/corporate/restaurants/venue/view ($49 per person)

This 34-year-old steakhouse is known for its hand-picked steaks and butcher shop. 2 Middle Neck Rd., Roslyn, 516-627-7270, pollrestaurants.com/restaurants/bryant-cooper ($10-$50+)

Customers can enjoy seafood and steakhouse staples along with selections from separate wine, cocktail, and dessert menus at this Roslyn location. 1305 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-621-1200, pollrestaurants.com/restaurants/hendricks, ($13-$50+)

Salmon crudo, filet mignon, and arugula pesto pasta are just a few of this restaurant’s most popular dishes, Opus also serves sushi. 4 Old Jericho Tpke., Jericho, 516-605-1400, opussteakhouse.com ($12-$50+)

Revel has won the Five-Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences for three years. 835 Franklin Ave., Garden City, 516-246-9111, revelrestaurant.com ($9-50+)

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