On Massapequa's busy Merrick Road or Broadway, a new restaurant might draw yawns.

But just a half-mile south, among the single-family homes lining Forest Avenue along a quiet canal, construction at one of the area's only commercial lots is a topic of curiosity.

Residents have been watching a 1930s bungalow get stripped and rebuilt, decorative stone go up, and the profile of what had been a blink-and-you-miss-it German eatery grow.

What's coming, they hope, is closer in character to that long-closed restaurant, the Forest Inn, than a popular bar the new owner runs elsewhere in town.

"I wish them the best," said Dawn Signorelli, who has lived across the street from the restaurant for 20 years. "But I hope it can be treated like a neighborhood establishment, not a place for party life."

New owner Noel Cannon, of Paddy's Loft Irish pub on Hicksville Road, said he understands the nature of the location, surrounded by homes, requires something quieter.

"It's not going to be a late-night scene like Paddy's," he said. "There won't be any banging bands. It's a different area."

The Forest Avenue spot (named Smuggler Jack's in applications to the town) will have a "refined" nautical theme, Cannon said. He didn't disclose proposed hours or when it may open.

In addition to the old German place he purchased several years ago, Cannon has acquired the closed deli next door -- the other area property zoned for commercial use.

He didn't disclose his plans for that lot, but some residents said they'd like the building razed for parking, freeing spots on the street for homeowners.

Because the property was grandfathered for commercial use in what became a residential zone, Cannon doesn't need a variance. Oyster Bay officials said he requested an 1,800-square-foot addition to the existing 16,000 square feet. He can have up to 75 seats without a special-use permit.

"If the nature of the use changes, that would be something we would want to know about," town spokeswoman Phyllis Barry said.

Greater Massapequa residents have often clashed with restaurateurs who want to operate near homes. Smokin' Al's, a popular barbecue joint in Massapequa Park, drew neighbor complaints of constant, overpowering odors when it opened in 2009.

Earlier this year, an area group opposed a Checkers drive-thru on Sunrise Highway, fearing homes behind the site would suffer from frequent late-night crowds and trash.

But neighbors are willing to give Cannon a chance, even though the location has a spotted history. The deli saw several owners in the last decade, while the Forest Inn failed shortly after changing hands.

"For years, nothing has made it there," said Bob Jervas, who lives three doors down.

Asked what he'd rather see at the site, he replied: "Homes, of course."

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