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Gastropub Prohibition Kitchen opens in Port Jefferson 

A fried chicken sandwich served with a glazed

A fried chicken sandwich served with a glazed doughnut, called the Dirty Mother Clucker, at Prohibition Kitchen, which has opened in Port Jefferson. Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

A longtime local food-industry entrepreneur has debuted her latest concept in Port Jefferson, a morning-'til-night American restaurant where breakfast is served all day, the wine list is wholly drawn from Long Island, and the food bounces from Latin-influenced breakfast plates to soul food to vegetarian.

Prohibition Kitchen opened Friday in the Main Street space where Kimi Japanese Restaurant used to be, combining a gastropub vibe with nautical and vintage touches. Asked to describe the ambience, Lisa Harris said, "you come into your grandmother's house to have lunch," but lunches that might be kind of over the top — such as a fried chicken sandwich served on a glazed doughnut, Dirty Mother Clucker. "I wanted food where people feel like they're overindulging," said Harris. 

Harris has been in the food industry for at least 20 years, running Caffe Portofino in Northport before founding, and selling, Morning Sunshine Breakfast Cookies. In 2017, she opened the doughnut shop East Main & Main in Port Jefferson, around the block from where Prohibition Kitchen is now; that shop remains open.

The restaurant's 35 seats are divided between wooden booths, tables and an l-shaped bar backed by a bicycle mounted to the wall and custom neon sign that spells out "BOOZY." All of the beers (there are 12 taps) and wines — and many of the spirits — are local to New York State, and Bridge Lane Wines are on tap. Bar manager Justin Rinker's succinct cocktail list includes a dill-pickle gin martini and a spiced paloma with fresh grapefruit juice and hot honey. (Both are $12).

Chef Gustavo Guerrero, chef du cuisine (and general manager) Tom Fazio and Harris collaborated on a menu that goes from weighty (braised pork shoulder at breakfast) to light (sweet-potato hummus). Vegetarian and vegan options are far from rote, such as edamame dumplings with blood-orange-braised oyster mushrooms served with tamarind-chile dressing.

Breakfast ($11 to $18) is served all day, including avocado toast and ham-and-cheese-filled biscuits with white chorizo gravy. Frito Pie, poutine, wings and fried green tomatoes make appearances on the small plate-sharing menu ($10 to $24), albeit with touches such as garlic doughnut holes and short ribs (for one version of poutine) and crushed peanut satay sauce and Thai chile jelly (for the PBJ wings). Sandwiches and larger plates ($13 to $17) include two burgers, a hot dog topped with sriracha slaw, Japanese mayo and nori, and a grilled-cheese sandwich called the 8 Slice Death Punch that brings together bacon with melted burrata, American and gruyere cheeses.

At 10 p.m. each night, the bar's lights are dimmed for an hour devoted to cocktails served in tea cups, as they would have been during Prohibition.

Soon, Harris said, Prohibition Kitchen will roll out a "secret menu" whose details will be gradually leaked via social media. (Prohibition Kitchen's Instagram account is @prohibitionkitchenpj).

For now, the restaurant is open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Find it at 115 Main Street in Port Jefferson, 631-473-0613.

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