Irene isn’t the only hurricane set to blow into town this weekend: An eatery called Hurricane Grill & Wings is poised to open in Syosset, rain or shine.
Still, you’d never have guessed anything dire was brewing if you dropped by Thursday afternoon, when the place was a whirlwind of happy activity. Outside the door, Syosset artist Jacqueline DeBari was putting finishing touches on a colorful exterior mural depicting lush palm trees. Inside the spacious, tropical-themed restaurant, a training team from corporate headquarters in West Palm Beach was getting the servers up to speed.
Meanwhile, franchisees Michael Friedman, Bob Engel and Dean George were focusing on feeding a crowd; Saturday and Sunday will be the restaurant’s “soft opening,” a (hopefully) dry run when a total of 600 invited guests — friends, family and local public officials — will be served lunch and dinner. On the menu: wings, salads, burgers and sandwiches. On Monday, the place is slated to open to the public.
Within a franchise group made up of 41 restaurants — most in Florida, two others on Long Island (in Port Jefferson Station and Levittown) — the Syosset restaurant may be the first Hurricane to open during a hurricane. In fact, recalls Dan Steele, a corporate employee, the only other storm-related opening nationwide was when the Port Jefferson Station restaurant debuted — during a blizzard last winter.
For the present, everyone in Syosset is getting ready to feed the crowds, cooking up a storm.
Hurricane Grill & Wings is at 275 Jericho Tpke., Syosset, 516-921-9464 and also at 1037 Rte. 112, Port Jefferson Station, 631-509-1288 and 3345 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown, 516-520-9464.
Above: Bob Engel, managing partner and and Dan Steele, an area director raise hurricane flags outside Hurricane Grill and Wings which will open August 29.