In Massapequa Park, a new restaurant hopes to capture "pura vida," — a Costa Rican catchphrase meaning "pure life" — with Latin-inspired cuisine, handcrafted cocktails and a laid-back atmosphere.
Vida opened in early February in the Southgate Shopping Center. The space was most recently home to Zim Zari California Coastal Grill, which closed following the untimely death of founder Keith Giannadeo.
Vida chef-owner Chris Cooper said he wanted to keep Zim Zari’s cool coastal sensibility in place, while channeling the energy of Long Island’s East End. "Zim Zari had such loyal followers, so we really wanted to cater to the local community," he said.
Cooper grew up in Hicksville and cut his teeth cooking at The Palm Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan and East Hampton. In Massapequa, his menu centers on Latin American plates and local beverages. Find Long Island wines and craft beers alongside handmade empanadas, grilled corn with queso fresco, and tacos or burritos stuffed with chicken and avocado crema, teriyaki tuna, Buffalo cauliflower or braised short rib. There’s also half-pound brisket burgers and churros for dessert.
For now, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, but Cooper said to look for "Sunday Funday" brunches to debut in early spring, with menu specials and chilled out, acoustic live tunes.
Vida is at 4964 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park; 516-809-6960, vida-li.com