For the six years that John Murray III has been running Kilwins chocolates in Patchogue, he would sometimes lament that there was nowhere nearby to grab a quick hero. The DIY spirit eventually took hold. Murray, who has been around the restaurant business his entire life (his dad owns Mulcahy's Pub in Wantagh), decided to build his own.
Last week, he opened The Hero Joint, a tucked-away spot behind Kilwins with a rustic-industrial vibe, a handful of tables and a laser focus on hot and cold heroes, salads and cheesesteaks, plus fresh potato chips made throughout the day. "You can get a sandwich, chips and soda in five minutes," said Murray.
Murray spent the summer both renovating the space and tracking down ingredients that met his standards; he uses applewood-smoked carving ham served on toasted multigrain bread with mustard and Swiss cheese for The Piglet; a luxe beef pastrami for Daverami on Rye, his version of a pastrami sandwich; and house-shaved turkey for The Bird, a Thanksgiving-esque creation of cranberry sauce and stuffing on marbled sourdough "that has been flying out of here," Murray said.
Customizable cheesesteaks can come with either chicken breast and sliced ribeye as a base, and deli salads are augmented by made-to-order versions, as well as a red-leaf-lettuce grilled Caesar. Sandwiches and cheesesteaks ring in at about $6 to $12, depending on toppings; salads start at $10.The kitchen also fries thick house potato chips in four flavors: Salt and pepper, rosemary-garlic, garlic-Parmesan and jalapeño, and this writer can attest they stay crispy for hours.
It's not easy to find The Hero Joint: Your iPhone will indicate it's on East Main Street next to Kilwins, but the counter is actually reached either by walking through the ice-cream store or around the back of the building.
The Hero Joint is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Hero Joint, 74B E. Main St., Patchogue. 631-636-0500.