After four years in business, Freeport's Liberty Links served its last pastrami dumpling Feb. 28. Musical chairs have ensued: Owner Brian Von Der Linn has transferred the lease to a former high school friend for a Tex-Mex takeout spot — and will reemerge on the North Fork soon (pastrami dumplings in hand) to helm a new butcher shop.
Von Der Linn said he wanted to return to his butchering roots, and will lead the forthcoming Mattituck location of Center Cuts, which has operated (and thrived) in Roslyn Heights for the past seven years. "Justin [Aronoff, the owner of Center Cuts] was a customer of Liberty Links, and said he was opening a shop out east and wanted me to be the guy," said Von Der Linn, who is culinary-school trained and spent seven years at Freeport's Steve's Prime Meats before opening Liberty Links. The tiny shop had a few stools and an exhaustive menu of custom sausages and sandwiches.
Von Der Linn said that catering on the North Fork is "not as good as it should be," and will be a focus at Center Cuts. He'll also reintroduce a few Liberty Links favorites out east, such as the pastrami dumplings and a sandwich known as the Gallucci (capicola, fried pepperoni, garlic-infused ricotta and basil pesto on toasted bread). As in Roslyn, the Mattituck Center Cuts will serve prime meats via 24 feet of counter space, confirmed Aronoff, and prepared foods at another counter that is twice the length as in the original location.
Before Von Der Linn departed Nassau County, he didn't want to leave his old shop in uncertain hands: He contacted old high school colleague Sergio DeCiantis to take over the tiny spot. DeCiantis said he and his partners will open a Guac Shop there later this spring. The growing chain, founded in Garden City in 2018, will serve up burritos, tacos, quesadillas and other Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, almost exclusively for takeout and delivery.