Stephanie Perrone


10 Long Island Cajun Restaurants to Celebrate Mardi Gras This Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras

No need to go to all the way to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras when you have Long Island’s Cajun-style restaurants hosting their own Fat Tuesday parties.

There are many local restaurants that capture the ambiance of New Orleans as well as the Cajun food such as crawfish, Gumbo and Jambalaya.

This year, Mardi Gras falls on March 5, so as the French say, Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Big Daddy’s Restaurant
1 Park Ln, Massapequa. 516-799-8877 bigdaddysny.com
This place goes big with their annual “Mardi Gras Madness Week,” where they have seven nights of New Orleans-style celebration with live music and specials. Big Daddy’s also offers Cajun food such as Louisiana Crawfish Boil, Motor Mouth Stuffed Shrimp, and Cajun “10 Ouncer” Burger. One of the most festive places to go on LI for that New Orleans feeling. 

Big Daddy’s East 

44-46 E Main St, Bay Shore., 631-968-2505, bigdaddyseast.com This Cajun-style bar and restaurant that’s the second location of a Massapequa eatery of the same name opened in time for Mardi Gras. Patrons are in good hands with Executive Chef Adam Anders, who trained under Emeril Lagasse. One of the most festive places to go on LI for that New Orleans feeling.

Biscuits and Barbeque
106 East 2nd St., Mineola. 516-493-9797. biscuitsandbarbecue.com
The weekend-long Mardi Gras festivities at this diner-style eatery kicks off Friday, featuring Crawfish, alligator sausage, Louisiana Gulf Shrimp, and King Cake, plus too many more to list here. A casual joint, this neighborhood haunt is a cozy spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner in a lively atmosphere. Dishes not to miss include the biscuits and gravy (but be warned, get this to share—it is huge), the brisket, the mac n cheese and the shrimp po’boy.

Blackbird’s Grille
553 Old Montauk Hwy., Sayville. 631-593-4144. blackbirdsgrille.com
With their homey atmosphere and great food, Blackbird’s will have Mardi Gras specials on their Cajun dishes such as Jambalaya, gator bites, crawfish, shrimp po’boy and much more.

Cafe Joelle
25 Main St., Sayville. cafejoelle.net
Their annual Mardi Gras celebration includes traditional favorite New Orleans dishes, such as Jamalaya, catfish and Chicken Creole. Wash it all down with a Hurricane or Voodoo Juice.

Louisiana Joe’s Sandwich Shop
488 Merrick Rd., Oceanside. 516-442-9838. louisianajoes.com
This place gives that New Orleans atmosphere by serving up their traditional Cajun food with dishes such as Louisiana Hot Wrap, Jambalaya eggs, the Cajun burger, and “The Muffuletta.” They will have specials for Fat Tuesday.

R.S. Jones
153 Merrick Ave., Merrick. 516-378-7177. rsjones.com 
Serving up dishes such as  shrimp ‘n’ grits, cornbread, and might fine gumbo, R.S Jones will host a party with live music and specials for Mardi Gras.

Treme Blues and Jazz Club
553 Main St., Islip. 631-277-2008. tremeislip.com 
One of the few jazz clubs on LI, this spot’s named for the French Quarter neighborhood where jazz was born. The Blues bar is normally open Wednesday through Sunday—except for their epic annual Fat Tuesday party. Headlining this year’s show is The Slap Yo’ Mamma Jazz Brigade. Although the club is more known for their music than their food, specials on cocktails, Gumbo and Mardis Gras King Cake are among the mouthwatering items on their menu. There will be beads and New Orleans glam is encouraged. No cover. Party starts 7 p.m. Feb. 13.

Nawlins Seafood Co.
301 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport. nawlinsseafood.com
Celebrate Mardi Gras on The Nautical Mile! This place won’t reopen for this spring, but, their sister restaurant right next door, Rachel’s Waterside Grill, will host a Mardis Gras party featuring samples of the Nawlins Seafood Co.’s menu, including gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, hurricanes and more.

Mara’s Homemade
236 West Jericho Tpke., Syosset. 516-682-9200. marashomemade.com
Mara’s is a Cajun barbeque joint great for casual eats, with must-have dishes including the crawfish-stuffed baguette, lobster, gator bites (yes alligator!) and the andouille crusted tilapia. The owner herself often comes to check in on patrons, contributing to the hospitable atmosphere. Don’t forget to save room for their famous bluegrass pie, homemade beignets and fresh seasonal fruit pies as a delicious way to have an authentic Mardi Gras experience. Specials and beads are on tap for the big day! 

The Sands Point Man Who Planted Miracle-Gro

A half century ago, Horace Hagedorn and his business partners sowed the seeds of a water-soluble plant food that would make gardens grow big and healthy — a product now known as Miracle-Gro.

The advertising executive from Sands Point was approached by Otto Stern, who sought advice about marketing, when they hatched the idea to form a fertilizer company. They hired a well-known Rutgers professor, O. Wesley Davidson, to formulate it. The widely advertised plant food was so popular that in 1995, it merged with Scotts Corporation to become Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.

“The truth of the matter is, Scotts didn’t buy Miracle-Gro,” Hagedorn told The Wall Street Journal a year later. “The truth of the matter is, we bought Scotts.”

He sought to clarify confusion created because the Scotts name was seriously marketed. But the majority of the company’s stock was held by the leaders of MiracleGro.

Before that move, Hagedorn bought out Stern in the 1980s and plowed ahead. His widely advertised TV commercials later cemented the company as a nationally known brand. Because Hagedorn had worked in advertising, he knew how to make a personal pitch about his product and get people more interested.

Hagedorn credited the name of the product to his first wife, Peggy. Besides having a catchy name, the liquid fertilizer proved successful because of its ability to help weak plants receive nutrients quickly, and the fact that it is less likely to burn plants. The company sells formulas specifically for tomatoes, roses, trees, shrubs, and houseplants.

Hagedorn retired in 1997 and became a full-time philanthropist. His son, Jim Hagedorn, became chairman, CEO and president of the Scotts Company.

Some of Hagedorn’s personal earnings from the sale were donated to Hofstra University’s school of education and Adelphi University’s business school, both of which were named after Hagedorn. They are just some of the many philanthropic contributions by the nonprofit Hagedorn Foundation.

Although he passed away in 2005 at his Sands Point home, Hagedorn’s success with Miracle-Gro lives on.

D’Addario & Co. Guitar String Maker Humming Along

A century ago, an immigrant who settled in Astoria set up a tiny, home-based guitar string manufacturing shop, continuing a family tradition that he brought with him from the Italian countryside.

That immigrant, Charles D’Addario, passed along the family trade to his children and grandchildren, who set up a larger manufacturing facility in Lynbrook with five employees four decades ago. Nowadays, D’Addario & Co. has an almost 200,000-square-foot facility in Farmingdale that employs nearly 1,000 workers, making it the world’s largest musical instrument accessory manufacturer. It recently opened a European division, effectively coming full circle.

“We are very excited by the creation of D’Addario Europe and we look forward to advancing our brands in these extremely vital markets,” says John D’Addario, III, president of D’Addario & Company, Inc. “Our family began string making in Europe, so it is personally meaningful to return to Europe with the promise of building more direct relationships with this historic and vibrant music community.”

Musicians who use their strings read like a who’s who of big-name acts: Keith Urban, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Zac Brown, and many more. Part of D’Addario’s success is its worldwide distribution and dealer networks. The company products are marketed in the United States through wholesale distribution and more than 5,400 retail music stores. Their products are sold in 101 countries worldwide.

John Jr. and James D’Addario have taken great steps to pass down the family tradition. The family-owned company’s roots date back to the 17th century, originating in the small Italian town of Salle. The family traces their start in the craft back eight generations. A baptismal form filled out by their ancestor, Donato D’Addario, listed his occupation as cordaro, which is Italian for string maker.

Centuries later, John D’Addario is still keeping the family business in tune.

Zorn’s Rebuilding its Bethpage Location

Zorns of Bethpage is getting a new home.

Zorn’s, Long Island’s most famous hometown chicken and turkey restaurant, is rebuilding its original roost in Bethpage, where its first location opened 78 years ago.

The take-out and catering business is breaking ground later this year on a new 8,000-square-foot building on the western side of its current location at 4321 Hempstead Tpke., the company said. It is borrowing several million to fund the transformation. The new location will include a small dining area, an addition Zorn’s attributed to popular demand.

“We will continue to serve up our well-loved traditional recipes,” said Merrill S. Zorn, the company’s CEO. “Everything you have come to know and love about Zorn’s—our quality, freshness and friends staff—will not change”

Merrill’s grandfather, Peter Zorn, founded the business in 1940. 

The current Zorn’s of Bethpage building will remain open throughout the construction of the new structure. Once the new building opens early next year, all employees will be shifting there.

“Our Zorn’s of Bethpage family looks forward to continuing to serve your family as we embark on this exciting new chapter in our history,” said Merrill Zorn.

Merrick Teen Helps Sick Mom ‘Brave The Storm’ Through Song

The video for Sammi Singz original song titled "Brave The Storm" can be found on YouTube.

A Merrick teenager who uses music to lift the spirits of her ailing mother is sharing her story in the hopes that it will inspire others to overcome challenges in their lives.

Samantha Horowitz, a 13-year-old Merrick Avenue Middle School student, co-wrote “Brave The Storm” with her mother, Tara Notrica, and American Idol finalist Robbie Rosen. The inspiration for the song came from Notrica’s battle with a rare hematological/immunological disorder called mast cell disease.

“It was so bad at times that I was close to death at one point and both of my kids had to go through this for most of their lives,” said Notrica, 53. “I want this song to inspire others of not losing hope and to keep moving forward.”

Notrica, who is currently going through chemotherapy and is waiting on a bone marrow transplant, said her music therapist would show up and give her the determination to continuing fighting through song. Her daughter, who was only a year and a half when her mother was diagnosed, also sang to Notrica.

She and Samantha, who posts YouTube videos of her songs under the name Sammi Singz, got into contact with fellow Merrick resident Rosen. All three of them then came up with the song, which is now available on iTunes and Apple Music.

Samantha is now a finalist in the 2017-2018 Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Concerto and Vocal competition. She will be performing the “Brave The Storm” at the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7.


Guide to Long Island Ice Skating Rinks

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with friends and family or a place to practice figure skating or ice hockey, there is no shortage of ice skating rinks on Long Island.

Many local rinks host parties, fundraisers, and Family Night and offer lessons to newcomers. So strap on your ice skates and head on to one of the into these cool ice rinks:

Indoors Ice Skating Rinks

Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink
Family-friendly ice rink that offers many programs such as skating school, hockey, and figure skating. Also offers classes and private lessons for children and adults. 65 Arrandale Ave., Great Neck. greatneckparks.com

Cantiague Park Ice Rink
Used by recreational skaters and hockey teams. Offers skating lessons for children, adults and seniors. Skate rentals are available. 480 West John St., Hicksville. nassaucountyny.gov

Dix Hills Park Ice Rink
This state-of-the-art, indoor, full-sized, year-round skating facility has all the amenities. The building, which sits amidst 150 acres of spectacular parkland, is designed in manner of a ski lodge, open and airy, with sloped ceilings and a rustic feel and look. 575 Vanderbilt Parkway, Dix Hills. huntingtonny.gov

Freeport Recreation Center
Ice skating is open to the public. No residency requirements. Skate rental is available. 130 East Merrick Rd., Freeport. freeportny.gov

Home to the Iceland Ice Cats Hockey League and the Metropolitan Figure Skating Club. Public sessions are available from Fridays through Sundays. Also, Iceland has birthday party’s packages for ages 10 and up. 3345 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park. icelandlongisland.com

The New York Islanders’ may practice at a new facility, but they still have a presence at this ice rink. 175 Underhill Blvd., Syosset. nhl.com

Long Beach Municipal Ice Arena
Open all year around and offers public and private lessons as well as birthday parties. Also has hockey programs and a teen center with a snack bar. Home to the Long Beach Skating Academy. 150 West Bay Dr., Long Beach. longbeachny.gov

Newbridge Road Park Indoor Ice Rink Arena
Features a full-sized rink, skate rental, snack bar and coin-operated lockers. A central fireplace adds a cozy ski lodge ambiance to the facility. 2600 S. Newbridge Rd., Bellmore. toh.li

Northwell Health Ice Center
Skating school, hockey leagues, public skating sessions. Skate rental is available. Eisenhower Park 200 Merrick Ave., East Meadow. nhl.com

Port Washington Skating Center
Family oriented ice rink that offers general skating with your family and friends. Every Sunday is Family Skating Day. Open all year round. Also offers skating school, hockey programs, and private parties. 70 Seaview Blvd., Port Washington. pwskating.com

Superior Ice Rink
This rink is operated all-year round for public ice skating, figure skating, learn to skate programs, youth ice hockey and adult ice hockey. 270 Indian Head Rd., Kings Park. superioricerink.com

Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center
Offers figure skating and hockey programs. Also offers public sessions from now until April 8. Birthday parties offer through the Center Ice Cafe. 1001 Stewart Ave., Bethpage. oysterbaytown.com

Outdoors Ice Skating Rinks

Christopher Morley Park
The 200-feet by 80-feet outdoor ice rink open until March. Offers skating sessions for children and adults. Rentals for parties and hockey teams are available. 500 Searingtown Rd. N., Roslyn. nassaucountyny.gov

The Rinx at Harborfront Park
Open until March 11, this rink offers ice skating programs for group lessons as well as private. Also offers parties such as birthdays, fundraisers, and scout troops. 101-A East Broadway, Port Jefferson. therinx.com

Tanger Outlet Ice Rink at The Arches
Offers ice skating lessons on Saturdays by appointment. Group of 12 or more can revive discounted on skate rentals and private ice skating time. 455 Commack Rd., Dear Park. tangericerink.com

Mitchell Park Ice Rink
Offers public skating sessions and skate rentals. Also offers hockey for children and adults and has Family Night on Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Front St., Greenport. greenportvillage.com