The Linwood, which opened in Bay Shore in mid-June, has a name evocative of a hotel that stood nearby until 1925 — but behind its name is a brain trust of wide-ranging industry experience.
Co-owner Drew Dvorkin is behind a number of other restaurants, including Local Burger Co. and T.J. FInley's Public House, both in Bay Shore. The name of chef (and part owner) Henry Freidank III might be recognizable to longtime customers of the now-closed Nonnina in West Islip; while general manager Tracy Johanna is well-known on Long Island's cocktail scene, where she's picked up several awards (as well as a recent appearance on Fox & Friends, talking about whiskey).
The Linwood takes over the space that most recently held the barbecue restaurant Fatwood, but has a vastly different look evocative of a 1920s hotel bar. Azure velvet covers chairs and walls are painted an equally deep blue. Ornate crystal chandeliers dangle over the bar and chain metal curtains serve as sinuous room dividers; seating for about 100 spreads across the dining room, bar and an outdoor patio.
Freidank's menu seems to shoot for a higher octave of gastropub fare. A vivid trio of spreads (edamame hummus, black beans and roasted jalapeno guacamole) accompany a lightly charred house naan, and other appetizers ($9 to $16) include a warm grilled octopus salad, house potato chips with cheese fondue and "ocean" (read, seafood) escabeche. Main courses ($16 to $34) cover a resurrection of Nonnina's cavatelli Bolognese as well as fried chicken with Cheddar grits, seared seasonal fish over tabbouleh and the requisite burger (here, topped with muenster and short-rib ragout). "We wanted to be broad enough so there would be something for everyone, but with cohesiveness," said Dvorkin. "There is a mixture of comfort food with seasonal offerings."
Johanna designed a cocktail menu that riffs on classics and unexpected juxtapositions, such as The Botanist Gin with a sweet bell-pepper cordial, Cocchi Americano, thyme, lemon, aquafaba and Peychaud's bitters (The Bellboy). Notable, too, is a thoughtful selection of alcohol-free mixed drinks, such as honeydew melon, lemon, toasted sunflower orgeat and soda water. Sommelier Joseph Pascal compiled an obliging wine list (both by the glass and bottle) that covers several regions and tops out at a 2015 Stag's Leap cabernet sauvignonfor $95; a rotating cast of beers "touches on everything from barrel-aged stouts to juicy IPAs, but also everyday backyard beers such as Negro Modelo," said Johanna.
For now, The Linwood is open daily at 4 p.m. for happy hour and then dinner, with lunch and brunch to start soon. Weekend live music goes down on the patio, weather permitting.
The Linwood Restaurant & Cocktails, 150 E. Main St, Bay Shore, 631-665-1256. thelinwoodbayshore.com.