This week’s episode of "Extreme Restaurant Makeovers" takes us to Relish in Hauppauge, the second location of Don Brown’s popular all-day eatery, which he fashioned out of "an abandoned Pizza Hut," as our server put it on a recent busy Saturday afternoon.
Hauppauge’s years-long hopes for salvaging the red-roofed ignominy went unfulfilled until Relish’s opening in March of this year, and then were promptly dashed again two weeks later, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the closing of the state’s restaurants. The eatery was back in May, by which time Hauppauge was more than ready for its twin-pronged emphasis on diner-style fare by day and white tablecloths in the evening.
"It took me two years to get the lease signed from the time I first inquired about the property," Brown recalls. Late last year, he accomplished "a complete overhaul of the whole entire property excluding the roof and the masonry."
While his plans predated COVID-19, they also weirdly prefigured them. Brown had always planned to create a permanent outdoor seating area, one connected to the main dining room by a series of garage doors mounted on the front facade. But the floor plan is completely different from Relish’s other location, in Kings Park, and there are other differences as well, notably an attractive bar area with "a full liquor menu." Brown’s two eateries serve roughly the same food including a breakfast burger ($17), a steak sandwich oozing mozzarella on ciabatta bread slathered with horseradish cream sauce ($18), and a whole corner of the menu devoted to mac ’n cheese (a Buffalo chicken version goes for $17). Things trend toward the upscale as afternoon turns into an evening, with an emphasis on pasta, fish and chicken entrees.
Sure, it was a long time coming, but now an eyesore is gone and Hauppauge has something to relish.
The new location of Relish is at 551 Hauppauge Rd. in Hauppauge, 631-652-0150, relishfoodlongisland.com. Opening hours for breakfast are 8-11:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.Thursday through Saturday. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Dinner hours are 4:30-8:30 p.m.Sunday through Wednesday and 4:30-9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.