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The Riverhead Project is gone for good

The Riverhead Project in Riverhead, seen in 2011,

The Riverhead Project in Riverhead, seen in 2011, shut its doors on Sept. 6, 2014. The owner, Dennis McDermott, said he doesn't know when the restaurant will reopen. Credit: Heather Walsh

The Riverhead Project, which dramatically improved dining out downtown, has closed.

Permanently.

Owner Dennis McDermott said last weekend that he hoped to re-open the restaurant with new partners, but Friday confirmed he was not able to find an investor. "Nobody wanted to invest in a restaurant in Riverhead."

The downtown upturn he'd hoped for and helped move along didn't materialize in time to save the creative, New American restaurant. "It's going to take a lot longer" to rebound, he said.

The Riverhead Project was in a converted Chase bank building, a low-slung "Mad Men"-era structure that looked sharp but that McDermott said was extremely expensive to maintain.

McDermott also cited the soft economy and the harsh winter as reasons for the decision. "This past winter just put us in such a hole," with snow and bitter cold keeping diners away and causing weather-related closings for days.

The Riverhead Project was named best new restaurant of 2011 in Newsday.

"I had a great time," said McDermott, who added that he's in talks to open a new restaurant in Stirling Square in Greenport.