Chef and owner Michael Maroni, 57, died of natural causes...

Chef and owner Michael Maroni, 57, died of natural causes in March. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Neither Maria Maroni nor the rest of the crew at Maroni Cuisine was much looking forward to March 8, which marks the one-year anniversary of the death of the restaurant’s founder and presiding spirit, Michael. So Maria came up with a plan to make the day more sweet than bitter:

During the week leading up to next Sunday, the Northport restaurant (and the Southold satellite) will be donating 20% of net sales to a charity close to the Maronis’ heart, Locust Valley’s Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, which serves more than 1,200 children on the North Shore. “Mike grew up in Locust Valley,” Maria said, “and spent most of his childhood and teens at The Club. He learned to cook at the annual summer camp in the Canadian woods.”

GBBGC recently embarked on a $10 million capital campaign to expand and upgrade the existing facility, including the creation of the Maroni Kitchen, where kids can eat snacks and meals, take cooking lessons and learn about nutrition.

“At Maroni’s we have always believed that we have been blessed to be a blessing,” Maria said. “So we wanted to start a tradition of passing the blessing on.” She hopes that this will become an annual tradition; the plan is for the charity to change each year.

If you want to participate in the weeklong benefit, you’ll probably need a reservation. And the will to penetrate the Byzantine mysteries of Maroni’s business hours and pricing structure. Here we go:

Maroni Cuisine is open Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to late in the evening. On Wednesdays in winter you can order a la carte. Otherwise it’s the chef’s tasting menu only (except for takeout pots of meatballs and other large-format meals). The price of the tasting menu is $140 on Wednesday and Thursday; $160 on Friday and Saturday. But every day, “off peak” diners who arrive at 4 and finish by 5:30 p.m. will be charged $110. The Southold shop is open Friday and Saturday for takeout orders that are ordered two days in advance. Maroni Cuisine is cash only. Please see the website for more details.

Maroni Cuisine is at 18 Woodbine Ave., Northport, 631-757-4500, maronicuisine.com.

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