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Long Island restaurants decorated for Christmas

Each year, eateries across Long Island usher in the holiday season with more than just specialty menus. Some serve up grand decorative displays that can put even the biggest Grinch in a merry mood.

Those with an appetite for festive flair can have their fill at any of these restaurants, where the greens are not just on the plate — they’re all over the grounds. 

Bright Eye Beer Company

Holiday decorations at Bright Eye Beer Co. in
Credit: Ian J. Stark

Bright Eye Beer Company (50 West Park Ave., Long Beach) There are wreaths with (painted on) ribbons on the windows outside--and this matches the spirit of all the holiday decor hanging inside as well, which co-owner Luke Heneghan says cost nothing. " We definitely went a little crazy on the lights and stuff," Heneghan admits, "but we just took it all from our families' homes." The result of their handiwork: ribbons wrapped around poles, multi-colored lights dangling across the length of the bar and ornaments dangling from light fixtures. There's a lounge space in the back corner, and that's been surrounded by hanging strands of lights, creating a view of endless illumination for anyone sitting inside. Heneghan says a Christmas tree is likely to be installed soon. More info: 516-543-5736, brighteyebeerco.com

Il Posto Di Joey

This 20-foot fire-retardant Christmas tree is annually raised
Credit: Ian J. Stark

Il Posto Di Joey (84 New York Ave., Huntington): A name change and a flip in ownership may have occurred at this classic Italian eatery, but it still features lots of festive wreaths and ribbons around its dining room, about $1,500 dollars' worth. The restaurant's $7,000, 20-foot fire-retardant Christmas tree has also returned to the venue's enclosed patio, a space that has become more important for dining purposes since the pandemic transformed the rules of dining. Every year since the restaurant (formerly known as Tutto Pazzo) opened in 1992, the owners have held a tree lighting the Friday after Thanksgiving. "The slowest day of the year for restaurants -- in Italian restaurants -- is the day after Thanksgiving," owner Joseph Petrone says, "So, when we opened up, we decided that we wanted to do business that day." The decorations will stay up through Jan. 6. More info: 631-271-2253; ilpostodijoey.com

Uncle Bacala's

A selection of hand sanitizers sits among the
Credit: Ian J. Stark

Uncle Bacala's (2370 Jericho Tpke., Garden City): Italian food is the main event here, but don't forget about its standout cocktails--such as the "Cotton Candy Cosmo" (made with homemade cotton candy) and the "Dirty Bacala" (vodka, olive juice and Tabasco sauce, with a Gorgonzola cheese-stuffed olive)--but come the holiday season, owner Peter Hewitson and his staff dress the entire eatery in ribbon-studded garland around the windows, elven dolls dangling in the kitchen service window, several wreaths and a festive tree one can see upon entry. Hewitson says they spend around $3,000 on the ornamentation, and are planning to construct a new-for-2020 "Winter Wonderland" display outside as well. More info: 516-739-0505, unclebacala.com

View

View in Oakdale
Credit: Joann Vaglica

View (3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale): When you step into this riverside fine dining restaurant, tucked between the Connetquot River and a residential area of Oakdale, you'll be greeted by snow-dusted trees covered in seashell and starfish ornaments. It's "simple, yet stunning," said general manager Joe Scalice of the classic-rustic meets nautical decor. For more than 35 years, a professional designer is called in to decorate each of the restaurant's rooms. Lit garland elegantly drapes throughout the tea room, which features a sushi bar, waterfall and two fireplaces, and the bar and adjacent grill room, which also features a fireplace. The main bay view dining room is accented with frosted trees and vintage lanterns, among other decorations, and if you look above, you'll notice a wreath tucked inside a canoe near the kitchen. Customers can expect the waterside seafood spot to carry its festive theme through Jan. 6. More info: 631-589-2694, lessings.com

Krisch’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour

Krisch's in Massapequa
Credit: Joann Vaglica

Krisch's Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour (11 Central Ave., Massapequa): Chocolate "krinkles" aren't the only thing bringing holiday cheer at this Massapequa mainstay this time of year. Dozens of hanging ornaments, 60 feet of lit garland, custom-made bows and ornaments, plus a full Christmas village display in the restaurant's window, add charm. "We've been decorating since 1955. We add and we subtract every year, but we keep the tradition alive. That's what we are all about," said Christine Cairo, a former manger who now owns the place. It takes $5,000 to make the holiday spirit come alive and about a weeks' worth of decorating, which is done by Cairo along with her mother and will be completed for the 2020 season will be fully in place around Dec. 10. More info: 516-797-3149, krischs.com

Buckram Stables Cafe

Buckram Stables Cafe in Locust Valley
Credit: Joann Vaglica

Buckram Stables Cafe (31 Forest Ave., Locust Valley): Hit the slopes, no skis required, at this cozy restaurant that is transformed into a winter wonderland with a moving, miniature ski lift that stretches halfway across the back of the dining room. It's part of the main attraction: a mantle that sits above the restaurant's booths that greets you upon entering the establishment. A small ski village sits atop decorated with numerous faux trees and snow, and little cabins. The restaurant decorates the exterior as well, with 48-inch wreaths hanging from the cafe's front windows, along with garland, plants and holiday lights. More info: 516-671-3080, buckramstables.com

Oconee East Diner

Nutcracker at Oconee Diner in Islip, Dec. 10,
Credit: Marisol Diaz

Oconee East Diner ( 749 Main St., Islip): Chef Bill Thompson cooks up more than omelets and pancakes: He's responsible for the eye-catching displays. Above each table and booth are any combination of giant Christmas balls, artificial poinsettia leaves, snowflakes and starbursts. However, while the sight of full-tilt decor is an annual experience, there are also changes to look forward to--such as the 12-foot skeleton standing outside, wrapped in a string of glowing bulbs, between a blow-up Grinch and an equally inflated "Minion"--and all are wearing Santa hats. "We only got the skeleton in the last week before Halloween," explains owner Spiro Karagiannis, "and kids really love it...we try to keep things interesting." Thompson starts decorating the day after Thanksgiving. For the first two years the diner was open, Karagiannis says he hired a decorator. When that person retired, Karagiannis bought his decorations and Thompson took over. Each year, Karagiannis spends about $1,000 to replenish the displays, which come down after Little Christmas. More info: 631-581-2663, oconeediner.com

The Snapper Inn Waterfront Restaurant

Snapper Inn
Credit: Snapper Inn

The Snapper Inn Waterfront Restaurant (500 Shore Dr., Oakdale): The owners have their Eastern European ancestry to thank for the inn's 30-year tradition of hanging not just ornaments but an entire tree--placed upside down--in the Oakdale eatery. It takes about four staffers to place the 6-foot-tall artificial tree in the Connetquot River dining room--named for the riverbank the restaurant sits on--and two to decorate it, says general manager Kerry Blanchard. Decorations went up the week before Thanksgiving and will come down right after New Year's. Aside from the upside-down tree in the room, fresh garland lines the restaurant's exterior, entrance, walkways and bar area. A 14-foot artificial tree stands in the main dining room, and more than 100 poinsettias are placed throughout the 10,000-square-foot space. The annual decorating tab is about $10,000. More info: 631-589-0248, thesnapperinn.com

Country House Restaurant

Country House Restaurant in Stony Brook is one
Credit: Robert Willemstyn

Country House Restaurant (1175 North Country Rd., Stony Brook): The Stony Brook eatery has made a big deal of its holiday decorations since at least the 1970s. But Robert Willemstyn says that when he and Scott Wendt took over as owners in 2005, they lit it up a few kilowatts. The restaurant itself is presented as a gift -- its exterior is trimmed with a giant red ribbon. These days, the decorating duo makes use of about 30 bales of evergreens, 100,000 Christmas lights, 1,000 feet of garland and at least 25 wreaths, among other decorations. Willemstyn estimates it costs $10,000 to decorate annually. More info: 631-751-3332, countryhouserestaurant.com

The Milleridge Inn

The Milleridge Inn
Credit: Alyssa Izzo

The Milleridge (585 N. Broadway, Jericho): The Jericho mainstay has more room than most -- 12 acres -- to dress for Christmas. In November, an in-house staff of about 20 spent nearly two weeks hanging wreaths on every window (about 150); placing roughly 600 poinsettias around the grounds; pinning down custom-made, light-up figurines throughout the adjoining walk-through village; and hanging a few hundred thousand holiday lights. Before they officially flipped the switch for the season, its president, Butch Yamali, says he sent a drone up for a full view of the village to ensure it was visible from nearby roadways. All told, he says he spent about $80,000 for the lavish display this season, and that attendees can also look forward to a holiday village and a drive-in movie series featuring seasonal favorite films . More info: 516-931-2201, milleridgeinn.com

The Irish Coffee Pub

Irish Coffee Pub
Credit: Stephen Mahood

The Irish Coffee Pub (131 Carleton Ave., East Islip): The spot's natural colors lend themselves to the holiday season, says owner and operator Stephen Mahood. "We want it to be simple, subtle, elegant" while embracing the holiday season, Mahood says. To strike that balance, the South Shore fine-dining restaurant enlists the help of a former employee, Debbie McGorry, to decorate the entire 12,000-square-foot space with fresh wreaths indoors and outdoors, and poinsettias on all of the tables. Every year, The Irish Coffee Pub adds a few more details while maintaining an understated style. The greatest expense is the outside lighting, which largely contributes to the $10,000 decorating tab. More info: 631-277-0007, irishcoffeepub.com

Eric’s Italian Bistro

Eric's Italian Bistro
Credit: Joann Vaglica

Eric's Italian Bistro (70 E. Old Country Rd., Mineola): This Italian restaurant lights up Old Country Road with a heavily decorated 150-pound wreath, illuminated stars, and some dressed-up garland and potted evergreen plants. Inside, there are more than 150 decorations split between hanging ornaments, wreaths, bows, trees, garland and other (mostly handmade) pieces that are custom designed by chef and owner George Echeverria's wife Fanny--and for 2020, Echeverria says they'll be adding around 100 different decorative pieces, such as reindeers. More info: 516-280-5675, ericsbistro.com

B.K. Sweeney's Uptown Grille

Holiday decorations at B.K. Sweeney's Bar & Grille
Credit: B.K. Sweeney's Uptown Grille

B.K. Sweeney's Uptown Grille (636 Franklin Ave., Garden City): "If you're not in the holiday spirit after visiting B.K. Sweeney's Uptown Grille in Garden City, you're not going to be," says manager Lysa Jaramillo. For more than 20 years, Jaramillo has decorated the pub the weekend before Thanksgiving,. Patrons of all ages have come to expect it.  "They don't just look for it, they've got me down to the day," says Jaramillo. This year, Jaramillo and "her elves" (three co-workers) spent two full days hanging more than 15,000 lights throughout the pub. Lighted spiral Christmas trees and candy canes are at the main entrance. Inside the restaurant, garland lines entryways and trims the bar; wreaths are in abundance. Above the bar sits a Victorian village. Jaramillo reuses a lot of the decorations, which stay up through mid-January. She estimates the restaurant's owners spend $4,000 per year replenishing ribbon and other materials. "It's festive. Cozy," Jaramillo says. More info: 516-746-3075, bksweeneys.com

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