There’s a new drive-through convenience store in town and it’s got a little tropical flair. Smithtown and Island Park are the first Long Island locations of Farm Stores, a chain founded in South Florida in 1957 (four years before the first Dairy Barn opened on Long Island).
You’ll find the expected groceries and household items: milk, eggs, ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s, Turkey Hill and Breyers), cereal, bacon, snacks and beer. Where Farm Stores really departs from Dairy Barn is its lineup of ready-to-eat foods, from milk shakes and smoothies to soups, breakfast sandwiches and hot breads, which are prepared in a high-powered convection oven.
A number of menu items have a decidedly Latin flavor, from Argentinian-style empanadas to arepas (South American corn cakes), tequeños (Venezuelan cheese sticks) and pandebono (gluten-free Colombian cheese rolls). Such dishes are more familiar to shoppers in Miami than in Mineola, but Shane Kavanagh, who owns the Island Park store with Nick Palumbo, said that his customers are already coming back for them. "And one guy from Venezuela drove up, looked at the menu and could not believe that we had tequeños."
Kavanagh said that the stores’ inventory follows "the 80-20 rule: about 80% is from the ‘corporate’ menu; 20% is what we customize for Long Island." That means bagels from Bell in Oceanside; cider, doughnuts and, on occasion, pie from Jericho Cider Mill; local beers from Long Beach Brewing and South Shore Craft Brewery.
Kavanagh and Palumbo have franchise rights to Long Island’s South Shore. They opened Island Park in October and hope to have three to five new locations open in 2021, starting with Baldwin. The North Shore of Long Island is the territory of Christina Picarella and Carmelo Barone (and extended family). Their Smithtown store opened in August, and they are planning to open New Hyde Park and three to four more stores in 2021.
Farm Stores are at 4451 Austin Blvd., Island Park, 516-636-5510; 150 E. Main St., Smithtown, 631-406-6713; farmstores.com.