Yao’s Diner in Centereach, long recognized among Newsday’s Top 100 restaurants on Long Island, has closed. Its replacement, Spice Workshop, is still in a soft opening.
Rather than a diner, Yao’s was a full-service restaurant and one of the pioneers of authentic Chinese spots in Suffolk County; dishes such as fiery cumin lamb and sauteed snow-pea sprouts shared the menu with deep-fried crab and West Lake beef soup. It was opened in 2012 by then-Stony Brook student Adam Yao, with chef Guo Jhang cooking mostly Sichuan-inflected fare.
Spice Workshop is owned by Song Ran, a Chongqing native and former SUNY-Stony Brook student. It sports cherry-red walls and a modern, almost minimalist look. Ran said Spice Workshop’s menu is in flux — it is mostly printed in Chinese, save for a few Cantonese-style dishes listed in English — but is mostly centered on Sichuan-style dishes.
Spice Workshop is at 2503 Middle Country Rd. in Centereach, 631-676-5065.