Sertinos Cafe, a “fast-casual” franchise operation, is set to take the place of the old Sizzler on Main Street in Smithtown this summer.
The restaurant will have an espresso bar featuring hand-sorted, slow-roasted coffee beans, sandwiches, salads, frozen yogurt and more, said owner Craig Lowenthal, a certified public accountant who is making his first foray into the restaurant business.
The store, which is expected to open in August, will also have free Wi-Fi and a fireplace.
Lowenthal, 47, of East Northport, spent the last 10 years working at insurance companies in Manhattan. He said was looking for a change of pace and wanted to open a franchise business.
With the success of Panera Bread in mind, Lowenthal said he jumped at the opportunity to open a Sertinos when he was introduced to the business.
“I feel really passionate about it,” he said. “It offers everything and anything to the people and it’s done really great throughout Portland.”
Lowenthal signed a lease for the building in late December, just weeks after Sizzlers closed its doors after nearly 40 years at that location.
Though the restaurant will not bake its own bread, it will brew its own brand of coffee beans and offer frozen yogurt, ice cream, fruit juice smoothies and glace, a non-dairy frozen dessert.
Though there is a Starbucks in Smithtown, Lowenthal said he believes the benefit of Sertinos will be its variety of products.
Lowenthal said he received the necessary permits from the Town of Smithtown and the Suffolk County Board of Health about two weeks ago, and he expects renovations on the building to begin this month.
Though the Sizzlers roof will remain intact, the interior will be gutted and rebuilt, Lowenthal said. When finished, the 5,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 160 in the dining area, which includes a 30-person meeting room that can be reserved for groups. Lowenthal said he has also applied for a permit to have about 20 outdoor dining seats.
Lowenthal, who said he invested his life savings in the franchise -- about $500,000 in the Smithtown building alone -- plans to open 15 Sertinos around Long Island in the next 10 years.
“The initial cost has been high,” he said. “But it’s a good location with high visibility. It will be my show store.”
Alison Hildenbrand, a manager at the nearby Katies of Smithtown bar, said the staff there considers the new cafe an improvement for the business district.
“We’re kind of excited about it,” she said. “It’s something that we don’t have on the strip.”
Photo: A new Sertinos Cafe in Smithtown will feature an espresso bar like this one.