A chophouse burger at PeraBell Food Bar.

A chophouse burger at PeraBell Food Bar. Credit: Daniel Brennan

PeraBell Food Bar, one of the restaurants that spearheaded downtown Patchogue’s revival, will close on Saturday after 17 years.

“Business hasn’t recovered 100% since COVID,” said co-owner John Peragine, “and costs have eaten up any profits we would make. We decided to sell after not coming to terms with our landlord on our 10-year option.”

Peragine and his partner, Scottie Campbell, opened PeraBell in 2006, when the BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant was pretty much the only ambitious eatery in the village. The reopening of the historic Patchogue Theater and the summer Alive After Five street festival series (launched in 2000) had nudged the scene forward.

Newsday’s Joan Reminick reviewed PeraBell in 2007, writing that “in a town whose once-sleepy restaurant scene is seriously heating up, this newcomer looks to be a real firecracker.”

The restaurant was a hit, moving to larger quarters at 69 E. Main St. in 2011 and, in 2015, spawning a Riverhead location, with a wood-burning pizza oven; that closed in 2021 when the building was sold.

Meanwhile, Patchogue became one of Long Island’s premier dining destinations with Bird & Bao, The Cuban, Catch Oyster Bar and Rhum among the eateries opening in the ensuing decade. On his own, Peragine opened a Neapolitan-Detroit-style pizzeria, Donatina, at the edge of downtown in 2018.

Patchogue was becoming so popular that, in early March 2020, the village board was set to approve an 18-month moratorium on new restaurants because the parking situation had become untenable.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic and its attendant shutdown. Finding a parking space suddenly became a lot easier. Three years later, the village has recovered much of its mojo but, as Peragine noted, the rising costs of doing business have made margins so tight that even a busy restaurant may not be profitable enough to sustain itself.

“We had a great run,” he said. “After 17 years we met a lot of guests that became friends and had staff that became family." 

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