Mediterranean Diner, Bellmore
Diners were already struggling with changing dining habits when the pandemic dealt many of them a fatal blow. Bellmore’s Mediterranean Diner is the latest to join a casualty list that includes, in part, the Lantern Diner in West Hempstead, Seven Seas Diner in Great Neck, Paradise Diner in Hauppauge, the Plainview Diner and Franklin Square Diner.
Snaps American Bistro, Rockville Centre
Snaps, the 4-year-old American bistro across the street from Rockville Centre’s AMC movie theater, has closed. Owner Scott Bradley said he received “a very strong offer out of left field” for the space, and he sold his lease, furniture and fixtures. Customers who still need their Snaps fix have only to travel to the original Snaps in Wantagh.
Ivory Kitchen, Port Washington
This tiny Chinese restaurant on Port Washington’s Main Street closed after less than two years in business. Owner Jeff Li, a native of Yunnan province and a veteran of authentic Chinese restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Chinatowns, served familiar crowd-pleasers old (fried rice) and new (soup dumplings), but his calling cards were dishes such as Yunnan beef noodle soup and smoked duck breast. Li lamented that despite the Main Street address, Ivory Kitchen never got on the town’s radar. “The day we closed,” he said, “there were people who came in who asked if we just opened.”
Peconic County Brewing, Riverhead
Riverhead may be the craft beer capital of Long Island, but the East End town has lost one of its largest breweries. Peconic County Brewing, a sprawling 300-seat brewhouse with impressive views of the nearby Peconic River, has called it quits. With its Main Street address on the ground floor of the Riverview Lofts, the spot had fallen into financial trouble and was engaged in a dispute with the landlord, Riverhead Apartments.
Honu Kitchen & Cocktails, Huntington
Honu Kitchen & Cocktails, one of Huntington Village’s longest-standing hot spots, has closed after 21 years. Anthony Geraci, one of the new owners taking over the space, confirmed the restaurant will be getting a total rebranding and said he and business partner Thomas McNicholas hope to open by the middle of September.
Steven's Pasta, Long Beach
Steven's Pasta, one of Long Beach’s longest-running restaurants, has closed. Chef-partner Steven Guasco announced he was shutting the eatery. “I’ve reached retirement age, 65,” he said. “But in restaurant years, I’m more like 110. I have loved this experience but I know there are other experiences to explore while I still have my health and I remain hungry.”
The Pie Hole, Farmingdale
Veteran Long Island chef Marc Bynum took over this now-closed slice shop in October 2022, transforming it into an ambitious pizzeria that combined classic New York pies with toppings such as the Caribbean Queen (jerk chicken, grilled pineapple, plantain and hibiscus BBQ sauce) and the Anthony Hamilton (braised short rib and collard greens). There were also ribs, fried chicken and more soul food selections. “With the rent I was paying, the business model didn’t work,” Bynum said.
PeraBell Food Bar, Patchogue
PeraBell Food Bar, one of the restaurants that spearheaded downtown Patchogue’s revival has closed. “Business hasn’t recovered 100% since COVID,” said co-owner John Peragine, “and costs have eaten up any profits we would make. We decided to sell after not coming to terms with our landlord on our 10-year option."
Waterzooi, Port Washington
While Garden City’s Waterzooi is 25 years old and going strong, its Port Washington offspring has served its last mussel, closing after three years. According to partner Ed Davis, the owners were recently approached by another Long Island restaurant group that was interested in opening in Port Washington. “First they were just picking our brains about the town,” he said. “Then they made us an offer — an offer we couldn’t refuse — and the deal came together quickly.”
Saravanaa Bhavan, Hicksville
Saravanaa Bhavan, one of Hicksville's most distinctive Indian restaurants, has closed. The menu, which featured more than 100 dishes, provided a broad tour of the fertile vegetarian cuisine of South India. It excelled with dosas and uttapams, vegetable curries, street foods, clay-oven and fried breads and thalis, whole multicourse meals served on shiny round trays. It was a fixture on Newsday’s Top 100 restaurants list.
The Maidstone 1845, Woodbury
After a tumultuous two months during which the restaurant shuttered for a reboot and reopened briefly with a new chef, Maidstone 1845 in Woodbury has closed permanently. The spot opened in April, 2022 with a menu that chef Lewis Vargas described as “farm-to-table-inspired New American cooking.” A chic, well-appointed eatery tucked away in the Woodbury Town Plaza on Jericho Turnpike, it split the difference between weekday approachability and weekend pizzazz.
Afghan Kitchen 44, Huntington
After two years on Gerard Street in Huntington, Afghan Kitchen 44 has closed. Among Long Island’s Afghan restaurants, Afghan Kitchen 44 was certainly the smallest — it barely seated a dozen diners — but it boasted an impressive lineage: co-owner Naheed Mawjzada’s father-in-law, Mohammad Rouzyi, is credited as the inventor of the iconic (if blandly named) “white sauce” that is the standard accompaniment for Afghan kebabs whether sold by restaurants or street carts.
Vinoteka 46, Huntington
This year-old wine bar has closed. The new concept was meant to appeal to the town’s changing dining desires but owner Daniel Pedisich still felt he was putting in more than he was getting back. Small plates included some Croatian dishes but also tacos, lollipop lamb chops, sesame-crusted seared tuna and pappardelle with lamb ragu.
Pastrami King, Merrick
Pastrami King, one of Long Island’s last surviving kosher-style delis, has served its last pastrami sandwich. Owner Joe Yamali said that his 20-year lease in Merrick was up and that he was unable to come to terms to extend it. With the distinctive crown logo printed on its awning, the capacious restaurant stood out on Merrick Road. It was opened in 2002 by Joe’s father, Abe Yamali, who had, back in the 1970s and '80s, owned the original Pastrami King in Kew Gardens.
Grecian Grill, Farmingdale
This Greek restaurant has closed after more than 20 years serving the bustling corner of Main and Conklin streets. “We are retiring,” read a message posted on the restaurant's Facebook page from the owners, the Konstantatos family. The mainstay Greek restaurant had been a local favorite and replies to the post were swift. Many bemoaned the closing, lamenting the loss of “the best Greek food around,” while wishing the family well.
The Jolly Fisherman, Roslyn
After 66 years in Roslyn, this iconic seafood spot has closed. The closure marks the end of an era not only for the Scheiner family, which has presided over the institution since 1957, but for Long Island diners. Of the classic, old-school seafood houses that once dotted the local landscape, it was the lone survivor. New York City Italian restaurant Pietro's will take over the spot.
This popular Cuban-Mediterranean restaurant helmed by ex-boxer Alan Gotay has closed. “It’s a little bit of everything,” Gotay said, from rising rent and food costs to labor shortages. “I feel like the landscape of Huntington has changed in the last few years. People aren’t dining out as frequently as they used to, especially during middays during the week. I don’t know if it’s the cost of living or the cost of going out, but I’ve definitely noticed it.”
Shiro of Japan, Carle Place
Long Island’s oldest Japanese restaurant closed its doors in February after the owners of the building chose not to renew the eatery's lease. When Shiro opened in 1973, the term “hibachi” was not yet in common use: Newsday’s first mention of the restaurant described the scene: “the huge knife went clip-clop, the shrimp sizzled, the steak bits browned … and the chef flipped them onto dishes.” This was six years before Benihana of Tokyo opened in Manhasset. Over the years, Shiro expanded into catering and food service, supplying sushi to cafeterias all over the metropolitan area.
Craft 387 Bistro & Bar, Plainview
Craft 387 Bistro & Bar, part of the Long Island-based RestStar Hospitality Group, closed in April. Partner Eric Machado said that “holding the restaurant open during COVID depleted the funds available. With rising labor and food costs along with rents increasing we felt that we should focus on our other locations.” RestStar’s current focus, he said, is on its MB Ramen brand, which opened in Huntington in 2018 and expanded last year to Port Washington.
The Lantern Diner, West Hempstead
One of Long Island's few remaining 24-hour diners closed after nearly 60 years in business. Owners Lori Zimmerman and Socrates Fokas, who took over the restaurant in 2014, said that they are trying to sell the building to recoup some money. The diner was profitable up until COVID, Fokas said, but had fallen into financial hardship. After decades in the restaurant industry, he is planning to retire at age 67 and his children do not want to take over the business. "I’m done, I’m very relaxed and I don’t want my headaches anymore," Fokas said.
Monsoon Steak & Sushi, Babylon
Monsoon, the glitzy steak and sushi restaurant inside the stunning Bank of Babylon building, closed and will become a new location of the Queens-based chain Mito Asian Fusion. With restaurants in Forest Hills, Bayside and Yonkers, Mito Asian Fusion serves a variety of creative sushi rolls with interesting fusion dishes like a Buerre garlic pasta with a sweet miso cream, and crispy fried mashed potatoes with a yakiniku port wine reduction. The restaurant's website also advertises a $195 tasting menu built around Japanese wagyu beef cooked in the yakiniku style of Japanese barbecue.
18 Bay, Shelter Island
Since they opened their Shelter Island restaurant in 2011, Adam Kopels and Elizabeth Ronzetti have always closed for the winter. But this spring, 18 Bay did not reopen. “We thought about it long and hard,” Kopels said. “After the new year, we decided to take a sabbatical. We needed a break.” 18 Bay was a mainstay on Newsday’s annual Top 100 restaurants list and Kopels and Ronzetti are two of only four local chefs who have been named James Beard Award semifinalists.
H2O Seafood & Sushi, East Islip
The second location of this seafood spot closed and will be turned into a new concept by the owners of 360 Taiko Sushi & Lounge in Patchogue. The spot will feature feature traditional Japanese tatami rooms for private dining. The original H2O in Smithtown remains open.
Gentle Brew, Long Beach
Long Island is pretty well saturated with artisanal coffee shops, but one of its very first small-batch roasters, Gentle Brew in Long Beach, closed in May. “We made it through COVID with PPE and other loans,” said general manager Mel Chiusano, “but we still owed money and back rent and just couldn’t make it work." Chiusano and owner Bryan Baquet are in talks with a new partner and have their sights on a nearby Long Beach location.
Seven Seas Diner, Great Neck
The Seven Seas Diner, one of Great Neck's oldest eateries, closed in February. "We had very good years, we worked very hard and people supported us," said owner Jimmy Tsolis, noting that it's just not profitable to operate a diner anymore. The spot is set for a complete remodel and Tsolis plans to reopen as a Greek restaurant in hopes of making it more attractive for a potential buyer.
Village Heros, Syosset
Established in 1972, this shop had been a fixture of the Syosset community for 51 years. With its bright yellow sign and oversized meatball, chicken parm and Italian subs, it was a top pick for catered office lunches and Super Bowl parties in the area.