Pandemic-weary Islanders cry out from every town and hamlet: Why can’t I have tonight’s dinner catered? OK, we can’t help you there. But you can eat in a catering hall. These days, all over the Island, venues formerly dedicated to weddings and other special events are finding themselves pivoting — sometimes throwing the doors of their restaurants open to the public for the first time, sometimes vigorously promoting what was already an option. Here are just a few of the halls currently offering outdoor dining, weather permitting. Call for updated operating hours and reservations. The latter are almost always a must.
Mansion at Timber Point (398 Great River Rd., Great River): Breakfast, lunch and dinner are on offer at this estate's Grill Room overlooking Great South Bay. Highlights include a half-pound burger ($10.50), roast beef melt ($9.75), and an open-faced grilled cheese with bacon and tomato ($7.95). Open Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. More info: 631-581-0022, lessings.com
Fox Hollow (7725 Jericho Tpke, Woodbury): Fine dining at lunch and dinner is the specialty at this Scotto Brothers eatery on the grounds of an eight-acre estate. The focus is on Italian: linguine with clam sauce ($19), salmon bruschetta ($23) and branzino all’espresso ($30) are among the highlights. Open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. More info: 516-802-7501, thefoxhollow.com
Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation (21 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury): Perhaps the most dramatic conversion of any on the Island, this catering hall has been turned into a kosher drive-in restaurant with outdoor seating and carhop service. Full lunches and dinners with sides are offered either to-go or at one of several picnic tables on-site, and include barbecue brisket totchos ($39.95), a dino rib special ($49.95) and lamb lolly chops ($54.95). Open Sunday from noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. More info: 516-997-4000, ramcaterers.com/drivein
Oheka Castle (135 West Gate Dr., Huntington): It’s not news that this magnificent venue’s OHK Bar & Restaurant is open to the public (these days for dining, pickup and delivery) but the setting remains spectacular with a menu that includes crab cakes ($24), filet mignon French dip ($22) and blackened swordfish ($40). Open Sunday through Thursday noon to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 9 p.m. More info: 631-659-1350, oheka.com
Mansion at Oyster Bay (1 Southwoods Rd., Woodbury): The on-site Clubhouse Grille at this Gold Coast estate offers lunch and dinner, along with a small menu that includes the Mansion chopped salad ($9), a barbecue brisket hero ($12), and a corned beef/pastrami Reuben ($12). Open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. More info: 516-921-5707, lessings.com
Bethpage Public House (99 Quaker Meeting House Rd., Farmingdale): Among the al fresco lunch and dinner offerings at this popular wedding venue are a fig-and-goat-cheese pizza ($14), a lobster roll ($18), and an Asian chicken salad ($12). Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. More info: 516-927-8380, lessings.com