Savoy Tavern: Open in Merrick

The Savoy Tavern opened Jan. 7 in the The Savoy Tavern opened Jan. 7 in the Merrick spot once occupied by Brooks & Porter. (Jan. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Handout

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The former site of Merricks Brooks & Porter steakhouse (2008-12) has a new tenant: The Savoy Tavern is owned by a group of first-time restaurant owners who hired noted New York restaurateur Gerard Renny to create the concept.

Renny, whose Manhattan ventures have included Bar Stuzzichini and Sushi A Go-Go, put his ear to the Merrick ground. What I heard was that Brooks & Porters price point was too high, that people wanted something friendly and not too expensive. Thats where the tavern idea came from.

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Savoys menu features New American comfort standards (wedge salad, grilled cheese, roast chicken with polenta, potato-crusted salmon, house-blend burger) interspersed with Southern Italian specialties (baked clams, rigatoni with meat ragu). Small plates range from $7 to $16; salads from $10 to $14; sandwiches $12 to $16; mussels in the mid-teens; mains in the high teens and family-style large plates (serving two to three) from $24 for spaghetti and meatballs to $42 for veal Parmesan.

Im looking forward to trying the pane panelle, the traditional Sicilian sandwich of chickpea fritters, ricotta and caciocavallo cheeses. Savoys comes on a fresh-baked roll from Spiga bakery in Bellmore. ($10, add mortadella thanks, I will! for $1.)

For now the kitchen is being run by Kenneth Pulomena, most recently executive chef at Morgans Fish House in Rye and a veteran of Blue Water Grill in Manhattan. Renny said that Pulomena has a three-month contract to execute the vision and give the kitchen focus and direction.

The Savoy Tavern is at 16 Merrick Ave., Merrick, 516-506-7717.

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