Maia Vines


Port Jefferson Chef Learns From a Pro on Food Network’s Chef Boot Camp

chef boot camp
Chef Cliff Crooks is on a mission to help struggling chefs from restaurants across the country prove that they deserve to keep running their kitchens. (Courtesy Food Network)

In the series premiere of Food Network’s Chef Boot Camp, Port Jefferson’s own Chef Andrew Seeley from Tara Inn showcased his culinary skills in efforts to grow the restaurant’s business.

On Chef Boot Camp, host and Executive Chef Cliff Crooks puts three underperforming chefs in need of professional assistance to the test with culinary challenges to prove they are fit to run their kitchens. Over the span of three days, chefs learn about cooking fundamentals, creativity, confidence, and the importance of timing. After judging their performance, Crooks then decides if the contestants will remain head chefs of their establishments.

“It’s a lot of pressure on me because I care about the restaurant and I care about the owners as well,” Seeley said.

Featured in the premiere episode dubbed “Have a Little Faith,” Tara Inn has been a local favorite in the Port Jefferson community for more than 40 years. Kate and Tara Higgins, whose father opened the Irish pub in 1977, are the current owners.

“We grew up there. It’s not a job, it’s part of who we are,” said Kate and Tara Higgins.

The Higgins sisters wish to improve the quality and presentation of the food at the restaurant as well as to rebrand it from being known as a dive bar.

For Chef Seeley’s first challenge, he prepared a Tara Inn signature dish, filet mignon with risotto and risotto stuffed shrimp. Next came a test for the fundamentals: making crepes with strawberry sauce and whipped cream. The chefs also got the opportunity to cook for a live dinner party at Crooks’ restaurant, Casa Nonna in Manhattan, where Seeley proved his ability to work well under pressure.

On the last day of challenges, Seeley put a creative spin on Tara Inn’s menu with a pineapple-soy glazed pork loin and Asian-inspired noodles, a homage to the owner’s noodle recipe. Chef Crooks and the Higgins sisters complimented both the dish’s flavor and presentation. The restaurateurs expressed their confidence in Seeley after deciding to keep him as a chef.

“Andrew has the knowledge and ability to do it,” said Crooks, near the end of the episode. “I’ve got a lot of faith in him.”

According to Food Network, Chef Seeley’s own confidence has grown since his return from bootcamp which shows in his food.

“Going through the bootcamp has really inspired me to be the best chef that I can be for myself and for the Tara Inn,” Seeley said.

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3 Recent Restaurant Openings on Long Island

restaurants on long island
Off the Book serves up Italian American dishes. (Photo by Daniela Cuba)


Get ready to grub at this new Huntington-based sandwich shop, looking to soon expand to Westbury and Rockville Centre.

This shop’s specialties are cheesy heroes. Full heroes include the ribeye or chicken cheesesteak, ribeye chopped cheese, the buff, the ninja, and the cowboy, made with chopped ribeye, grub cheese sauce, barbecue sauce, fried onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, and cowboy sauce ($11.99-$13.99). In the mood for something lighter? There are half hero combos for each choice ($10.99-$12.99). Pair your hero with regular ($3.99) or loaded grub fries ($9-$15) –veggie, steak, chicken, or impossible meat–or even build your own.

The Grub Shop is open for dine-in, takeout, and delivery on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

376 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-546-1445, eatgrubshop.com


This family-owned bistro celebrated its grand opening in January. 

Chefs at Off the Brook serve up delicious Italian American dishes six days a week. Start off with apps like gouda mac and cheese ($14), zucchini chips ($13), clams casino ($14) or charcuterie boards for the table ($8 ea.). All charcuterie boards are served with lemon zested apples, fig jam, olives and artisanal crackers, and a choice of assorted cheeses, and aged meats. Cocktails like white cosmos and peanut butter delights ($14) are all the rave at this establishment where there is also a lengthy wine list.

Off the Brook is open for dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

1810 Merrick Rd., Merrick, 516-608-6543, offthebrook.com


The Metropolitan Caterers have served the Glen Cove community for over two decades but recently launched a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Executive Chef Anthony Falco showcases contemporary American, European, and Latin meals like brined pork chops with chorizo mashed potatoes ($26), citrus-marinated chicken ($23), and fra diavolo pizza with a cauliflower crust ($12). Specialty tacos, spicy Korean pork, Americano, veggie, and Baja shrimp, all come with shredded lettuce, crispy onions, cilantro, and lime ($12-$14). Save room for post-dinner delicacies like Tupelo s’mores tart ($9) and Italian cheesecake with mixed berries ($9).

The Metropolitan is open for dine-in, delivery, and takeout, Wednesdays through Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

3 Pratt Blvd., Glen Cove, 516-671-4444, metropolitandining.com

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Adventureland Prepares For Outdoor Reopening on April 10

Adventureland in Farmingdale is Long Island’s longest-running amusement park.

After closing its rides in March 2020, Adventureland amusement park in Farmingdale plans to entertain family and friends once again for its 59th season. 

Although the park is slated to open to the public on April 10, season pass holders can enjoy the rides a day earlier, from 3 to 9 p.m. Adventureland will be open weekends and holidays throughout the spring and daily in the summer, and admission must be purchased in advance through their website

“WE ARE BACK and we are SO excited to see everyone again this season!!! Opening day cannot come soon enough,” the Adventureland team shared in a Facebook post earlier this month.

All admission prices include unlimited use of the rides. General admission is $39.99 and $24.99 for adults ages 25 and up. Admission is free for children one and under.

With more than 30 rides and attractions, Adventureland has revealed some new ones just in time for the season, including the 60-foot Sports Tower. New arcade games like Pearl Fishery and Connect Four Basketball test players’ skills to win big points. Midway game, Alfie’s Glo-Up, is also making its debut. In addition to rides, park-goers can have their pictures taken with a special superhero and his two royal friends on reopening day.

Co-owner and managing partner of Adventureland, Steve Gentile stated back in November that the company had to pivot and adjust to many changes caused by the coronavirus. Recently, Gentile reaffirmed that he is prepared to implement these changes and restrictions starting this year. 

In accordance with New York State guidelines, the park has put measures in places to ensure the safety of all park-goers. The outdoor venue will operate at 33 percent capacity with 50 sanitizing stations located throughout the park. Social distancing will be required on lines, as well rides, and face masks are mandatory for all guests ages two and older.

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Long Island Native Donates Wheel of Fortune Winnings to Charity

wheel of fortune
Scott Kolbrenner, left, is a Hewlett native. He competed on Thursday's episode of Wheel of Fortune. (Courtesy © 2021 Quadra Productions, Inc., photographer Carol Kaelson. All rights reserved.)

A Hewlett native who won the $100,000 grand prize Thursday on Wheel of Fortune has pledged to donate the winnings to a pair of charities in California, where he now lives.

Scott Kolbrenner was awarded $145,000, his total winnings after cash and prizes, and decided that the prize money will be divided evenly between both charities, with Uplift Family Services at Hollygrove and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank each receiving $72,500.

“While I hoped I would do okay on the show, I never thought that anything like this could happen,” Kolbrenner said after his win. “I got lucky that day and knew right away that I wanted to share my good fortune.”

Kolbrenner has been an avid watcher of the long-running gameshow and was selected as a contestant after submitting a video application and completing a virtual audition.

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank collects and distributes food to local communities to combat food insecurity. The food bank also educates children, adults, and seniors on nutritional health. Their vision? No one goes hungry in Los Angeles County.

“The LA Regional Food Bank is successful thanks to generous supporters like Scott Kolbrenner,” the nonprofit tweeted on Thursday, urging people to tune into the show and show support.

Uplift Family Services, where Kolbrenner has been a long-time board member, is one of the largest behavioral health treatment providers in California. The company, serving more than 35,000 children and families a year, offers a wide range of services from educational support to developmental disability programs. In addition to serving on the board, the grand prize winner has been volunteering his time at Uplift Family Services for more than 20 years.

“The fun and memories from the day will stay with me forever, but the urgent need in our community cannot wait,” Kolbrenner said.

Related Story: Hewlett Native Competes on Wheel of Fortune Episode Airing Thursday

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Try Out These 3 New Restaurants on Long Island

restaurants on Long Island
O.G. Ramen.

Ramen and wings and beef, oh my! Check out these three new restaurants on Long Island serving up different types of cuisine.


Ramen for everyone. That’s the motto for Babylon’s newest ramen spot, O.G. Ramen.

Try the classic, the original, the salad, the pescatarian, or the vegan ramen bowl, made with yuzu vegetable broth, kale noodles, chickpea tofu, sweet bell pepper, mushroom, carrots, baby corn, fried garlic, and scallions ($12-$18). This establishment also offers rice bowls with a choice of beef ($15), chicken teriyaki ($14), tofu ($14) or shrimp teriyaki ($16) as well as child-friendly portions for “little g’s” ($10).

O.G. Ramen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for dine-in, takeout, and delivery through Seamless, DoorDash, and Grubhub.

14 Railroad Ave., Babylon, 631-620-3680, ogramen.com


Wings Over brings barbecue to you! While this wing shop just opened this February, it is already making a name for itself with its extensive sauce list.

Chow down on the specialty wings and chicken tenders, with up to three flavor choices. Besides wings, you can also choose between their classic chicken, chicken bacon ranch, and buffalo chicken sandwiches or wraps ($7.99-$10.99). All menu items are made available for takeout and delivery through UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, and its website.

Wings Over in Valley Stream is open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

52 Sunrise Hwy., Valley Stream, 516-407-3022, wingsover.com


Located inside an international food market, Mom’s Kitchen sells authentic Korean cuisine.

This semi-hidden restaurant has a diverse selection of rice dishes on the menu, including rice served with spicy pork, chicken, beef kimchi, and beef hotpot bibimbap ($11-$12). The seaweed rice rolls, (spicy) tuna ($6.50-$7), beef ($7.25), avocado ($6.75), eel ($8.25), spam ($6.25) and sausage kimbap ($5.75), are customer favorites. Jjigae, Korean stew, is another popular menu item. Kimchi stew, soft tofu stew, army stew, and yukgaejang, spicy beef soup can be found there ($11-$12).

Mom’s Kitchen Korean Food is open for dine-in and takeout every day from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

52 Jericho Tpke., Mineola, 516-699-2285, momskitchenkoreanfood.com

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Long Island Craft Brewery St. Patrick’s Day 2021 Events

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Long Island Craft Brewery St. Patrick’s Day 2021 Events


St. Paddy’s Day festivities at Great South Bay begin on Saturday, March 13. Enjoy the brewery’s large-sized green blonde ambitions brew for the price of a pint or try its Irish car bomb brew, a recently-released nitro milk stout, 14 percent ABV brewed with whole Sumatran coffee beans, Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans and lactose. The brewery is also offering $5 pints of green blonde ambition and apricot blonde ale throughout the month of March, along with live music every Friday through Sunday. 25 Drexel Dr., Bay Shore, greatsouthbaybrewery.com March 13-21.


This brewery and restaurant features a menu of Irish cuisine starting on Friday, March 12. Plus, don’t miss the Celtic rock band, Bangers and Mash, performing on March 21. 67 W Main St., Patchogue, brickhousebrewery.com March 12, 21.


St. Patrick’s Day is one of Long Ireland’s biggest celebrations so there will be a multitude of activities for customers to enjoy. On March 13 and on Wednesday, March 17, there will be live music and a special menu from the tap room food truck. At the end of the month, the establishment also holds its third annual Saint Baldrick’s Day event to raise money for children’s cancer research. 817 Pulaski St., Riverhead, longirelandbeer.com Free. Noon-9 p.m. March 13. 


Located on the south shore of the Island, HopWin’s is sure to have specials on the feast of Saint Patrick’s. Celebrate with $5 beers and $10 flights. HopWin’s also plans to release two new beers, the red leprechaun Irish red ale and o’HopWin’s Irish stout the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day. 1460 N Clinton Ave. Unit L, Bay Shore, March 13-14, 17.


Barnshed Brewery will be open on St. Paddy’s Day, but join them for their official celebration on Sunday, where they will have cornbeef and cabbage, as well as beer specials and the release of their Irish red ale, firemade red, that week. 100 Lauman Ln., Hicksville, barnshedbrewing.com 1-8 p.m. March 14.


How much do you know about folklore, myths, and legends? Test your knowledge at North Fork’s trivia night where you will be quizzed on mythology, urban legends, tall tales and fables, historical stories, and of course some St. Paddy’s Day folklore. The winning team leaves with a gift card to Barrow Food House. $1 off pints all night. 24 E 2nd St Suite A, Riverhead, northforkbrewingco.com $10-$30. 5:30 p.m. March 16.


In honor of St. Patrick’s, Shelter Island will be serving up a traditional corned beef and cabbage platter with boiled carrots and potatoes for under $10.00. Don’t forget the specialty beer! Blankets will be provided for outside diners. 55 North Ferry Rd., Shelter Island, shelterislandcraftbrewery.com Noon March 17.


Chocolate and beer are quite the pairing. Enjoy four flights of beers and four chocolate pairings from Chocology Unlimited at Saint James. There will be 12 beers on tap and even St. Paddy’s-themed shirts for sale. 430-13 North Country Rd., Saint James, saintjamesbrewery.com  12 p.m.-10 p.m. March 17.


Try Motion Craft’s take on green beer, an emerald pale ale with gold glitter, as well as a New England India pale ale brewed with Lucky Charms. This beer will have accents of graham, marshmallow, and lactose. 1036B Park Blvd., Massapequa Park, 1 p.m.-7 p.m. March 17.


Eastern Front will be brewing two special beers in honor of St. Paddy’s. Their flagship beer is North Shore Irish red ale, and they’ll also have a small batch of an imperial red ale, as well as an imperial version of their “Sexy MF” stout. Plus, North Fork Seafood will serve up some traditional Irish dishes at the taproom to pair with the beers.13100 Main Rd., Mattituck, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. March 17.


Known for its crafty IPAs, Destination Unknown has a special stout in store for the week of March 17: its classic red eye stout will be released on nitro. Seating is on a first come, first serve basis. 1 S Chicago Ave., Bay Shore, destinationunknownbeercompany.com March 17-20.


Partake in five days of St. Patrick’s Day specials at 27A, where there will be special beers for the occasion. Paddy swerve is the brewery’s hazy double IPA, with coconut and green with glitter. They will also offer a stout infused with Lucky Charms and launch a 10 percent Irish coffee hard seltzer conditioned on coffee beans. In house pours range from $7-$8, 32oz cans to go range from $13-$14. 173 N Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst, 27abrewing.com March 17-21.


Stop at Lithology for deals on deals. This includes $5 cans, $12-$14 crowlers to go, $10 4 packs to go, and $20 green T-shirts while supplies last. 211A Main St., Farmingdale lithologybrewing.com March 17-21. 


Bellport will be hosting its first party this year and an inaugural St. Patrick’s Day celebration all in one. There will be special beer and food to enjoy. Come early, dress warm, and get ready to put some beers down. Limited space is available for both locations. 14 Station Rd., Bellport bellportbrewing.com 11 a.m. March 20.


Bring a friend to South Shore Craft’s shamrock-themed bash. Chow down on complimentary corned beef and green beer while you enjoy live music by the Tri State Alehouse band. 3505 Hampton Rd., Oceanside, southshorecraftbrewery.com March 20.

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Bob Read Memorial Fund Aids Families Struggling in Pandemic

bob read
Robert B Read. (Courtesy United Way)

Following Bob Read’s passing in January, the veteran broadcast journalist’s family has established a fund to provide Long Island families affected by Covid-19 with financial assistance.

During his 30 years at Inside Edition, Read served as senior producer for its investigative unit and as managing editor. The West Islip native won numerous awards for his skillful reporting, including the George Polk Award and the National Press Club Journalism Award.

“Bob Read was much more than just a first-class journalist,” wrote the newsmagazine’s staff in a statement on Read’s death. “He was a mentor and dear friend to so many of us at Inside Edition.”

Read tested positive for Covid-19 in December. After passing, he left behind a wife and two children. With more than 80 million adults in the U.S. struggling to pay all their expenses during the pandemic, the Robert B. Read Memorial Fund, through United Way of Long Island, helps families with children as well as seniors afford basic needs and essentials.

“United Way is local and independent so we’re able to be very responsive to whatever crisis is happening that we can respond to,” said Theresa Regnante, president and CEO of United Way. “The Read family gave us the ability, through the generosity of their friends, families, and colleagues contributing to this fund, to make more of an impact.”

The fund, which has already raised more than $40,000, expects to help at least 50 families with emergency financial assistance. Half the money in the fund will go towards these families and the other half will be put into an endowment to support more families in the future. United Way of LI works with more than 100 organizations that submit requests for those in need of aid.

Currently, the need for assistance on Long Island is extensive, according to Regnante. The group receives 20 to 30 new reports of families struggling financially every day, which may be due to unemployment, loss of a loved one, or seniors suffering from chronic health conditions who are isolated in their homes during the pandemic.

“During such a devastating time for our family, knowing that Bobby’s fund will support others has truly been our greatest comfort,” said Bob’s widow, Michele Riordan Read. “The man who would do anything to help another will continue to do so forevermore.”

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Long Island Chefs Compete on Great Food Truck Race Episode Airing Sunday

great food truck race
Breakfast for Dinner team members, Harry Poole, Kate Wurtzel and April Northdurft. (Photo by Michael Moriatis/Food Network)

Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race is back for another season, this time featuring a team of three Long Island natives Kate Wurtzel, Harry Poole, and April Nothdurft. 

Hosted by Chef Tyler Florence, Season 13 takes place in chilly Alaska where the daily temperature averaged 14.3 degrees Fahrenheit. In this culinary adventure, set to premiere on March 7, food truck teams will incorporate local ingredients into their menus during the six to eight-week challenges. The teams with the highest earnings move on to the next week for a chance to win $50,000.  

“Once Covid delayed the opportunity to compete in March of 2020, and the months passed by, it felt as though the opportunity was lost,” said Chef Harry Poole, who oversees kitchens at Jackson’s in Commack and Morrison’s in Plainview.

That’s why it came as a shock to the crew when Food Network approved filming for the new season last November. Chef Poole’s wife and communication specialist, Shelby Poole from Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue designed the team’s logo and branding. Their concept? Breakfast for Dinner (BFD).

great food truck race
Breakfast For Dinner food truck.

The BFD team’s wide-ranging experience in the restaurant industry proves useful for the competition. Mixologist and world-traveler April Nothdurft from The Brixton in Babylon serves as outside sales and public relations liaison for the team. Nothdurft also worked with Chef Poole at Jackson’s.

“We are SO. PUMPED. to officially announce that the totally awesome Harry Poole will be appearing on the upcoming season of the @foodnetwork Great Food Truck Race with his awesome team @bfdfoodtruck,” Morrison’s restaurant tweeted on Feb. 7.

Kate Wurtzel, founder of Keep It Spicy in Smithtown, is a sous chef, location scout, social media manager, and marketer who sees this opportunity as a “major growth event.” Wurtzel’s small-batch spice blends brought flavor and warmth to the team’s menu and according to Keep it Spicy, their Hawaiian, Creole and blackened spice blends will be featured on the show. 

Look out for BFD’s pink food truck and the crew’s matching caps when Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race airs on March 7 at 10 p.m.

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Six Juice Company Set to Open First Location in Sayville

six juice company
Ronald “Six” Montgomery’s Six Juice Bar is coming to Sayville.

The Garden City-based Six Juice Company, one of the few Black-owned juiceries on Long Island, is set to open its first physical location in Sayville this year.

The benefits of juicing may include weight loss, hair growth, fatigue relief, and an increase in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Six Juice founder Ronald “Six” Montgomery learned about these benefits and began juicing a few years ago to help his mother stay healthy after her battle with breast cancer. At the time, he knew nothing about the process.

“I just thought you get some fruits and you put them in a blender so that’s what I did and the first juices I made were absolutely terrible,” the Central Islip native said. “I just kept going, got better at it, and I have a passion for it.”

All Six Juices are handmade and use all-natural, non-GMO fruits and vegetables. Some popular flavors include fresh, melo, Caribbean, hurricane, power and inferno 6, which is made with fresh watermelon, beet, ginger, orange and lemon. Six Juice also offers two-, three-, or five-day juice cleansing packs for customers looking to detox and buy in bulk.

Most juice orders are made through the company’s website. Besides delivery, Six Juices can be found at markets in Bay Shore and Brentwood as well as at the Pro-Fit center in Deer Park. Montgomery wishes to expand this list to other parts of the Island in the near future.

“Every business thinks that they have to run the city and I don’t believe that,” Montgomery said. “I think there’s enough people on Long Island to help grow my business and get the word out there, so I’m taking care of home before I branch out.”

Increased demand for Six Juices pushed Montgomery to make plans for a brick-and-mortar juice bar which will allow for easier distribution of juices and new additions. The owner also plans to provide protein shakes, vegan and vegetarian-friendly meals, and a children’s line of juices at the new location, looking to open in mid-April.

“Through this experience I’ve learned patience and endurance. You have to be patient because nothing comes overnight and with endurance, I have to be there no matter what,” said Montgomery. “If you’re getting into a business for money, you won’t make it. You have to have a passion and love for it, to endure the hard times.”

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Try These 3 New Restaurants on Long Island

new restaurants on long island
The Pizzeria in Bayport.

Are your taste buds craving something new for a change? Try these three new restaurants on Long Island!


#ramen #koreanfood #newyork #beefbulgogi #bibimbop #amazing #family #goodfordiner #hangout #messapequa #koreancuisine #japaneseramen #lunchspecial

One of Massapequa’s new establishments, Spoonsticks, specializes in Korean cuisine and Japanese ramen.

Start with Japanese-style steamed buns ($5-$6), soy garlic wings ($12-$20), jeon (Korean-style pancake [$10]), or mandu (fried dumpling [$9]). For dinner, try kimchi fried rice ($16), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles with vegetables [$15-$18] and beef or pork bulgogi (marinated, grilled meat [$22-$24)]. Ramen lovers can also choose from regular or spicy miso ($19), tantanmen (made with chicken broth [$17]), shoyu (vegetable or mushroom broth [$16]), or tonkotsu, made with pork broth ($17)

Spoonsticks is open seven days a week and is available for dine-in, takeout and delivery though UberEats, Grubhub and DoorDash.

4348 Merrick Rd., Massapequa, 516-200-4755, spoonsticks.square.site


May be an image of food

This upscale resto-lounge, taking advance reservations only, just celebrated its grand opening last December. 

Whether you choose dine-in or pickup, Prime 39 offers a wide range of both land and seafood options. Some seafood favorites include mini lobster rolls ($18), mussels with garlic ($16), barbecued salmon ($24), crabmeat-stuffed shrimp ($32) and seafood linguine ($32). On the land side, there are lamb chops ($18-$36), sliders ($16), steak ($36-$75), and Southern fried chicken ($21). Along with a selection of signature cocktails and dessert wine, customers can finish with vanilla bean cheesecake, carrot cake, apple Tatin, or chocolate molten lava cake ($9).

Prime 39 is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

39 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook, 516-837-3939, prime39.com


May be an image of food

The Pizzeria has recently opened a second location in Bayport; the first is at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove.

Stick to the basics with plain ($17.95), Sicilian ($18.95), and grandma pies ($19.95) or try one of their specialty pizzas: buffalo chicken, bruschetta, vodka Margherita, meatball burrata, or the Bayport, made with sweet tomato sauce and mozzarella on an olive oil crust ($24.95). Besides pies, this pizzeria also has sandwiches, pasta dishes, and salads on the menu.

The Pizzeria opens for dine-in and pickup at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at noon on Sundays. Orders for pickup can be made through the website.

606 Montauk Hwy., Bayport, 631-472-5959, thepizzeriany.com

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