It’s not as if the restaurant business was unknown to Nick Parrella. Far from it. For most of his 29 years, his father Cosmo owned Munday’s in Huntington, and Nick regularly found himself picking up shifts at the family diner when he wasn’t in school or otherwise “still trying to figure out my path,” as he put it.
Said path seemed unlikely to lead to a restaurant career, especially after Cosmo sold Munday’s in 2019. “I wanted to explore the world a little bit,” said Nick, “and I knew there’s a lot of sacrifices with a business like this.”
But Cosmo, now 61, was not done with restauranting, and neither was Nick, as it turns out. In June, father and son opened Watermark of Wading River in the former home of Michael Anthony’s Foodbar, a pandemic casualty.
Watermark’s commitment to weekend brunch is neither casual nor surprising given its provenance. Highlights include a Monte Cristo served on challah French toast ($15.95), a veggie Benedict with portobello mushrooms ($12.95), and blintzes topped with fresh berries and sour cream ($12.95). But the restaurant hopes to seize the rest of the day as well, offering $12 daily lunch combos (glass of beer or wine included) and dinner specials built around a menu focusing on salads, pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. Among the most popular items so far are two of the latter — crabcake and prime rib. Both are served on fine brioche buns, come dressed with fries or onion rings and cost $17.95.
“When this opportunity came up I thought it would be very difficult for my dad to do all on his own,” said Nick. “Munday’s didn’t have a bar.” Watermark most definitely does, and its seasonally sensitive collection of cocktails and beers on-tap is no small part of the younger Parrella’s strategy to attract a younger crowd and others looking to do more than eat. That said, however, “we really aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel,” Nick acknowledged. “This is just a place for people to relax, a friendly place to have a good time.”
Watermark of Wading River is at 2925 N. Wading River Rd., Wading River, 631-886-2343, watermarkwr.com. Opening hours are Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.