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Tim's Shipwreck Diner in Northport gets surprise makeover

Tim's Shipwreck Diner in Northport got a Food

Tim's Shipwreck Diner in Northport got a Food Network makeover in August 2014. Credit: Tim's Shipwreck Diner

Tim’s Shipwreck Diner in Northport, featured in a pivotal scene in the 1997 film “In and Out,” is getting another star turn. While owner Tim Hess was away in Montauk, Food Network engineered a makeover for an upcoming series called "American Diner Revival." Work began on Thursday, Aug. 14.

When Hess returned on Monday, he was flabbergasted. “There was a fire truck out in front,” he said, adding that it seemed the whole village had turned out for the reveal. Now, said Hess, “there are brand new floors, skylights, lights, malt machines. They even brought in a chef, who introduced some new items.”

That chef was Nicole Roarke, executive chef of JA Heneghan's Tavern in Point Lookout and one of Newsday's All-Star Chefs of 2014. “It was really important that they used a Long Islander,” said Roarke, adding that she received no priming but just walked through the place, giving opinions. She actually loved many of the dishes, some from old family recipes. “The blintzes were amazing,” she said. “The lobster roll was fresh and perfectly done.” But the rest of the seafood was fried, and the menu looked dated.

In the end, she changed the look of the '70s-style menu and added three dishes, among them the “Wreck/less” wrap ($14.95) featuring grilled salmon, egg whites, grilled tomato, avocado, arugula, lemon aioli on a whole wheat tortilla.

As for the integrity of this vintage railroad car diner, brought to Northport in 1924, it was carefully respected.  Said Hess: “They added a little flair and brightened it up.” Added manager Janet Eckel: “It’s still a railroad car diner. It has its wooden ceilings, booths and counter tops.”

Tim’s Shipwreck Diner is at 46 Main St., Northport; 631-754-1797,

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