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Islip Town officially reopens Islip Beach, nearly 2 years after Sandy

Sunset Restaurant partners Sal Cataldo and Christine Kim

Sunset Restaurant partners Sal Cataldo and Christine Kim celebrated the re-opening of their restaurant at Islip Beach on South Bay Avenue Thursday morning in Islip, on Aug. 21, 2014 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Town of Islip Supervisor Tom Croci and other officials. Credit: James Carbone

The $1.76 million renovation of Islip Beach -- following its destruction by superstorm Sandy almost two years earlier -- was formally unveiled Thursday as local officials cut a ceremonial ribbon on the steps of a new restaurant.

The bayfront area at the end of South Bay Avenue in Islip hamlet previously had a concession stand and pavilion that were taken off their foundations from the October 2012 storm.

A new structure that is both a concession stand and a new sit-down restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating now sits on the sands, boasting decks made from Brazilian Ipe wood, which "you really can't destroy," Islip Supervisor Tom Croci said at a news conference on the beach. The facility is equipped with energy efficient lighting and handicap accessible bathrooms and showers for beachgoers.

Route 110 Restaurant Equipment of Farmingdale, run by business partners and friends Sal Cataldo, 60, of Bay Shore, and Christine Kim, 50, of Hicksville, invested about $50,000 for equipment and furnishings for Sunset Restaurant, which can accommodate as many as 75 and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Cataldo said the now-serene spot looked like a "war zone" after the storm ripped through the South Shore.

"It was a horror," Cataldo said. "With all the devastation, a few good things came out of it and this is one of them," Cataldo said.

The restaurateurs are leasing the property from the town for $8,000 a year, officials said.

"We came back, we rebuilt and we built better than before," Croci said.

The beach reopened July 2013 and the restaurant kicked off its full opening this past July Fourth.

Last year, Islip Town Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr. was the lone council member to vote "no" on the project, calling it a "Taj Mahal-type design," saying it was "too expensive." The town paid for the project with capital funds and have since recouped roughly 60 percent of the cost, about $1 million, from its insurance carrier, town spokeswoman Patricia Kaloski said.

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