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Zorn's of Bethpage to invest more than $2 million in new building

The catering firm will continue operating at the same location it's been in since 1940, and "nothing is going to change in terms of our food or service," said owner Merrill S. Zorn.

Merrill S. Zorn, whose grandfather founded Zorn's of

Merrill S. Zorn, whose grandfather founded Zorn's of Bethpage, is planning a new, $2 million-plus building at the same site. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Zorn's of Bethpage, a take-out and catering business best known for its chicken and turkey dinners, is saying goodbye to the building that has housed the firm since 1940. 

The company plans to invest more than $2 million to build and equip a new 8,000-square-foot facility on the western side of its current property, at 4321 Hempstead Tpke, said owner Merrill S. Zorn, granddaughter of Zorn's founder Peter Zorn.  

Zorn's of Bethpage will remain open and fully operational throughout the construction of the new building, she said. Once the project is finished, all of the company's 30 full-time and 38 part-time employees will transition to the new store. 

"Aside from a new building, nothing is going to change in terms of our food or service," said Zorn, who added that keeping her grandfather's legacy alive is top of mind.

"Our food will still be handmade, we will still peel potatoes by hand and make our sides with five ingredients or less, and of course, our staff will be the same too." she said. "I am continuing my grandfather's commitment to the community and to the people who work with us every day."

Zorn said the new building will "look very similar" to the one customers have known for almost 80 years, "but with a few updates." 

The front of the store will include an area for dining in, with 16 seats at tables and booths. The decision to add the seating area was spurred by customer requests, Zorn said. 

Zorn's current building totals 25,000 square feet, including a 2,000-square-foot retail area mostly taken up by its production kitchen, where the company prepares more than 350,000 meals a year. In addition to individual take-out orders, Zorn's handles catering orders ranging from small family parties to large holiday events. 

Zorn said her grandfather, whose parents and siblings were poultry farmers, started the business in 1940 as a wholesale poultry company that sold truckloads of chickens to businesses in Queens.

Later he started to sell chickens and turkeys to retail customers on Long Island. And in the 1950s he started cooking and selling them, she said. 

The agricultural side of the business came to a halt in the 1970s. Zorn's now sources its chickens from a farm in Pennsylvania, "where they are bred, without hormones, and specifically for" the company, Zorn said. 

The new building is projected to be completed by January. Construction work is set to begin within a month. 

"This is the beginning of the next chapter in our family's historic legacy on Long Island," Zorn said.  "I'm so proud and incredibly lucky to be a part of this."

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