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The Ivy Kitchen & Bar opens in Huntington

Owners, from left, Ryan DiPaola, Mike Barrotta and

Owners, from left, Ryan DiPaola, Mike Barrotta and Zack Barrotta at The Ivy Kitchen & Bar in Huntington. Credit: Linda Rosier

To track down all of the Instagrammable spots in Huntington is a Sisyphean project: From murals to a castle to pithy sidewalk chalkboards and over-the-top snacks, the targets are always multiplying. It now also requires a trek up Wall Street to an ivy-covered entranceway where, in magenta neon, the words "Meet Me At The Ivy" loop across the vines.

That is not accidental. "We wanted to make [The Ivy] trendy, where everyone not only comes for good food they take pictures of everything," said co-owner Zack Barrotta, 28, who grew up in Huntington and whose background is not in restaurants, he added, but rather social media and marketing.

Nevertheless, Barrotta had the urge to open a restaurant, and along with his younger brother, Michael Barrotta, 25, and childhood friend Ryan DiPaola — who owns two Shrimpy’s Burrito Bars on Long Island — they leased the space where Barmani (and, before that, Black and Blue) used to be.

The Barrottas, two of a clan of four brothers, have spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, and Zack Barrotta said they sought to import a California- or even Miami-esque vibe to The Ivy. Through the summer and into fall, they gutted the space, eliminating darker, moodier colors and ceiling tiles and filling the place with neutral tones, twinkly hanging lights, seating for about 120 people and lots of faux ivy — wending up walls and covering the ceiling in a private room. (The name, though evocative of the longtime London celebrity hangout, stems from the Roman numerals "IV," which have long been used in the Barrotta family to refer to its four brothers. It also handily lent itself to design possibility).

On the food front, chefs Jack Grace and Willis Lindstadt — who worked in various Bohlsen restaurants, including Prime in Huntington — were tasked with fusing new American and Italian cuisine. The resulting menu moves from meatballs, pizzettas and burgers (including a Wagyu version blanketed in raclette cheese) to pastas (such as sweet-potato gnocchi with brown butter, sage and stracciatella cheese), oversized salads (beets with pistachios, orange and spiced yogurt) and entrées that arc from short-rib risotto to chicken scarpariello to scallops with a parsnip-apple purée. (Appetizers start at $13; pizzas and salads at $14; burgers at $21; pastas at $24; and entrées at $26).

Bar manager Jasmine Abdulaziz, also formerly of Prime, created a breezy cocktail list rife with fruit juices and bright touches, such as Smokey Robinson: mezcal with Cointreau, lime, blood orange and agave. There are 14 wines by the glass, the usual blend of domestic and local beers and a scene-y bar underlit with purple. On weekends, after the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., the restaurant "transitions" into a lounge with a DJ and patrons pushing aside tables to dance, said Barrotta.

When The Ivy opened on the night before Thanksgiving, the current COVID wave was still a few weeks off. "It's definitely an emotional roller coaster," said Barrotta. "You feel like you are trying to sprint forward and someone is holding you by your belt loop, holding you back. We put every resource we have into the space, and it’s nerve-racking if we face another shutdown. We’re trying to power forward and make sure everyone is safe." That includes, he said, the 40 employees hired to run The Ivy.

The Ivy opens at 5 p.m. during the week and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; happy hour and weekend brunch are forthcoming.

The Ivy Kitchen & Bar, 65 Wall St., Huntington; 631-900-9489, theivykitchenandbar.com

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