Six eateries preparing to tempt your palate
A half dozen downtown Port Chester restaurants now under construction
Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:00 PM
Eateries are constantly opening and closing in Port Chester and Rye Brook, but currently an inordinate number-six-are under construction and set to open within a small area in downtown Port Chester in the next few months. They are McShane's, an Irish sports gastropub at 123 North Main St.; a Papa John's pizza franchise three doors down at 117 North Main; Rye House Port Chester, a gastrobar and American restaurant across the street at the corner of North Main and Willett Avenue; Port Chester Hall & Garden, a beer and food hall in the train station building on Broad Street with an accompanying garden seating area; Salsa Picante Mexican Restaurant at 110 Adee St.; and Spadaro Ristorante, an Italian restaurant at 23 North Main.
Port Chester Hall, a food and beer hall and garden, is being created in the Metro-North train station building and an adjoining steel pavilion that has been erected. It is expected to open sometime this spring. RICHARD ABEL|WESTMORE NEWS
Another restaurant--a Popeye's franchise--has been approved for the original Maryann's Mexican Restaurant site on the Boston Post Road, but the location shows no signs of anything happening up to this point and a call placed to Rye Brook architect Gary Gianfrancesco, who has represented the applicant before boards and commissions, was not returned. An application for an eighth restaurant and bar in the office building at the corner of Willett and Abendroth avenues where the water company had an office for many years just went before the Planning Commission for the first time on Mar. 31. A previous proposal for a restaurant and bar that was approved at this 25 Willett Ave. location never materialized. Planning Commission members said at last week's meeting that this new application was far superior to the previous one.
In the meantime, other restaurants have closed, including fixtures like Racanelli's in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center which shut its doors without notice one day in December 2013 and Willett House at 20 Willett Ave. which was seized last month by the state for nonpayment of sales tax. T&J Villaggio Trattoria at 223 Westchester Ave., which was expected to have been sold, closed in February when the sale fell through. Since then John Muscatella, former partner and owner of both T&J Villaggio Trattoria and T&J Pizza and Pasta in Port Chester, the latter still going strong, has opened a family friendly restaurant along with his wife Maria called Halstead's Bar and Grill at 7 Purdy St. in Harrison. It had most recently been Trinity Grill and before that Risoli's. Halstead's offers both American food and Italian specialties and has a large banquet room that seats up to 140. John will manage the restaurant and many of his staff from T&J Villaggio have followed him to Harrison.
123 North Main St.
Vincent Furey of Yonkers, who tended bar at Davy Byrnes Irish restaurant and bar in Port Chester for 14 years, has teamed up with longtime friend Edmund Cleary of Yonkers, who tended bar at Dunne's Pub in White Plains for the same amount of time. The two Irishmen plan to open McShane's Irish sports gastropub on Apr. 21 in the location that was for many years Los Remolinos Colombian bar and restaurant. In fact, this was the location of one of the first Latino restaurants in the village.
Furey and Cleary took over the 123 North Main St. space around Thanksgiving and have been working to transform it into their dream restaurant ever since. It is undergoing a full renovation. A square bar with up to 24 beers on tap will be the focal point of the whole room which will have also feature booths and high tops. Beers will include some craft, some seasonal as well as the most popular brands.
According to Furey and Cleary, it will have good beers on tap, good snacks and good food. Specialties will be Irish beers, shepherd's pie, fish and chips and corned beef and cabbage.
The owners will be running the place themselves in a very hands-on sort of way.
Furey, a familiar face in Port Chester, lived in the village for many years and worked at Davy Byrnes as recently as last month, manning the bar on St. Patrick's night.
"We hope to do a substantial food business with the Capitol Theatre and will appeal to the locals also," Cleary said.
117 North Main St.
Muhammed Nouman of Yonkers and his brother Abid Bangush of Long Island just received final approval from the Port Chester Planning Commission on Mar. 31 to open a Papa Johns pizza franchise at 117 North Main St. Nouman currently owns Subway restaurants in Yonkers, the Bronx and Manhattan. This is his first Papa Johns.
"I like the area and neighborhood and didn't see any good pizza around, so I decided to open up one here," Nouman said about this location. The closest Papa Johns is in New Rochelle.
Papa Johns' slogan is "Better Ingredients. Better Pizza," he said, and he considers the fact that "we use all the fresh ingredients" to be what makes the pizzeria stand out. The restaurant will make different styles of pizza including regular hand-tossed, thin crust and specialty pies.
The new pizzeria will have a takeout counter and seat 29.
Nouman, who came to the U.S. from Pakistan as a teenager 16 years ago, is looking to open his Papa Johns restaurant by the end of April, the exact date "depending on how fast we are able to finish our work."
Rye House Port Chester
126 North Main St.
Michael Jannetta, who lives in Putnam County; his longtime business partner Robert Lombardi and Dan Forrester of Rye Brook are optimistically looking at a June opening for Rye House Port Chester at 126 North Main St. The space has been vacant for a while but previously housed Stratmar Systems, Inc., a promotional and merchandising service provider, and before that Zemo's men's store for many years.
"We like to frame it as a gastrobar," Jannetta said of Rye House. Port Chester will be the second location of this gastrobar which opened in New York City in November 2009.
Rye House in New York City serves elevated bar food and creative sandwiches including pickled quail eggs, boiled peanuts and fried pickles. "When we come up to Port Chester, we will be fleshing out the menu and make it a full blown restaurant," Jannetta said. The cuisine will be American, encompassing dishes from all parts of the U. S. with their inherent international influences. The menu will run from "classic dishes to modern dishes, trying to cover everything as much as possible and make it well-balanced."
In addition, "we take something and try to make it more special," Jannetta said. For instance, "we take a burger and try to make it the best we can."
In keeping with the name of the establishment, Rye House will have a strong selection of domestic whiskeys and as many domestic spirits as possible. In addition, craft cocktails "are a major part of what we do," Janetta said. For those, Rye House uses international whiskeys, scotches, gins and vodkas with different kinds of bitters and fresh juices, syrups and specialty conserved fruit as well as special ice that doesn't melt quickly.
In addition, the gastrobar will rotate 12 taps for beer and have an exclusively domestic wine list.
The space was designed by John Nyomarkay, a former New York film set designer who has done all of Jannetta and Lombardi's restaurants starting in 1999. Currently demolition and active construction is going forward as quickly as possible. This will be Janetta's fifth restaurant as an owner.
Jannetta said Forrester, who has lived in Rye Brook for 15 years, "is unwavering in his belief that Port Chester is the place to be now and exponentially so moving forward." His influence and the fact that Jannetta and Lombardi love what they do and wanted to expand led to this new venture in Westchester. "We just think it's a growing area with a lot of opportunity and are really excited about getting involved up there," he said in a phone conversation from Rye House in NYC.
There are going to be two bars--one upstairs and one downstairs--and the owners are getting a license for small scale entertainment such as small piece bands and jazz to accentuate dining, not create a venue for live music.
Jannetta admitted that "parking is a little bit of a bear" and eventually Rye House may have to go to some sort of valet scenario. "We're in the same boat as everybody else," he concluded.
Port Chester Hall & Garden
Port Chester Railroad Station
Work has been going on at the Port Chester railroad station, originally built in 1890, since June 2013 to turn the waiting area into a restaurant and beer hall adjoining a new pavilion and garden. It has been a massive undertaking which has included removing asbestos from the roof, installing new water lines and crafting the pavilion. Design guidelines for the new pavilion and any changes to the outside of the building had to be approved by the National Park Service since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The historic architecture is being preserved and retooled with vintage lighting, seating and century-old murals, according to a press release on the portchesterhall.com website. The pavilion, the framework of which is complete, will combine the original railroad steel design with communal wood tables and a towering stone fireplace.
A sign has gone up in front of the station on Broad Street and a billboard has been installed on Westchester Avenue announcing that the beer and food hall will open this spring. However, efforts to pin down the timeframe were unsuccessful.
Port Chester Hall, as the gastropub will be called, will serve 12 specialty craft beers created by Heartland Brewery's director of brewing. The selections will be exclusive to this location, which will be pouring a variety of beer styles including English, Belgian, German and American. Bartenders will also be shaking up imaginative cocktails and even gluten free options.
Pastrami Reuben Spring Rolls, Sashimi Tuna Burgers, Bacon & Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese, Maui Fish Tacos and Steak Frites are some of the items that will appear on the diverse menu.
Port Chester Hall will serve commuters as well as other local and area residents. The restaurant will also operate a coffee stand from 6-11 a.m. to serve morning commuters. The station's ticket booth will remain inside the building and is being refurbished.
Port Chester Hall will join sister restaurants Houston Hall and Flatiron Hall in Manhattan. Heartland Holdings also operates six other eateries.
As a tenant in the Metro-North train station paying monthly rent, Port Chester Hall will be responsible for maintenance of the building and beer garden.
Salsa Piquante Mexican Restaurant
110 Adee Street
Mexican-born David Dolores and his friends Juan Carlos Salazar and Fabio Gomez, who hail from Colombia, are hoping to open Salsa Piquante Mexican Restaurant next week if all goes well with the Health Department inspection they were waiting on as of press time. Dolores bought a house in Port Chester six years ago while his partners live in New Rochelle.
Dolores, 40, was employed in the restaurant business for 17 years, starting as a busboy and working his way up to the front end handling customer service and management. Most of that time was spent at Tequila Sunrise in Larchmont. He also worked at a hedge fund for a time where he liked the hours but missed the contact with people, so he began looking for a spot to open his own restaurant.
The chefs at Salsa Piquante, opening in the space at 110 Adee St. that has been empty for some time but previously housed Cousin Frankie's USA Grill, will be Dolores's cousin Guillermo and his mother Martha, all sharing the same last name. His mother, who only has experience cooking for her family, will make the basic soups and salsas while his cousin, who has been a chef in restaurants such as Tequila Sunrise and El Patron in Queens, will extrapolate the recipes to serve large numbers of people. Their focus will be on home-style Mexican cooking.
"I've been in the restaurant business and I always noticed that for some reason you are never going to get food like at home," David said. "I decided something was missing for the people." That's what he's striving to offer at his new restaurant, particularly the salsas, which he wants to be thick and flavorful like at home.
"Every morning she will cook two lunch specials and two soups," he said of his mother.
Besides serving Mexican foods like tacos and enchiladas, "the most important is the salsas," David said, especially the mole sauce which is from his native city of Puebla. "I was raised with that sauce."
Salsas will be spicy so they have a good kick but you can still eat them. The terribly spicy habanero sauce, he said, "I don't think we're going to use that one."
They will serve alambres instead of fajitas which David said "is the real Mexico City style" with melted cheese on top. Four or five different kinds of giant tortas will be another specialty. David singled out the Cuban, a Dagwood type sandwich made with ham, sausage, breaded chicken, carnitas (pork), scrambled eggs, beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado and cotija cheese.
David and his partners took over 110 Adee St. at the end of November after looking for a place since September. They have been building it out ever since, decorating the restaurant in a black and orange color scheme like the sharp-looking awning outside.
The space, which is below street level, is not currently handicapped accessible. "The Building Department will give us 30 days to make sure they install the lift," David said, referring to his landlord.
Salsa Piquante will at first be open only for lunch and dinner, later adding breakfast and catering.
Besides owning a restaurant in town, David wants to help the community by contributing a percentage of Sunday proceeds to start a scholarship fund for the Holy Rosary Church camp and supporting Corpus Christi-Holy Rosary School, where his son attends pre-school, by donating food for their events.
23 North Main St.
Having partnered with Dominick Neri, president of Neri's Bakery in Port Chester, Anthony Spadaro is bringing his popular family restaurant to Port Chester in the space where Per Voi had been. The original Spadaro Ristorante opened in New Rochelle six years ago and has already expanded from 30 seats to 84.
With construction in full swing at 23 North Main St., the partners are shooting for an opening in the first or second week of May.
What will make this restaurant different from the one in New Rochelle is that it will make and serve brick oven pizza from Naples. The owners took delivery of an oven from Italy several weeks ago.
Why Port Chester? "We had a lot of people tell us it was too far to come to New Rochelle," Spadaro, who hails from Rome, said. "We're trying to get everybody to have a taste of Italy-authentic and everything is fresh daily."
As in New Rochelle, specialties will include pasta Carbonara (made with eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper) and Amatriciana (made with cured pork cheek, pecorino cheese and tomato).
Since Spadaro's has taken over the space next door as well as the former Per Voi, the restaurant will be less long and narrow and the floor plan has been completely changed. Spadaro is thinking that the restaurant will seat about 185 people, although he won't know until he lays out the tables. In addition, a deck that is being created as part of the new façade building owner Neil Pagano is constructing along the Abendroth Avenue side of the restaurant will seat another 40.
"It's going to be a fun place to eat and drink and on the weekends to dance," Spadaro said. On Fridays and Saturdays there will be entertainment, the kitchen will close at midnight and the bar will stay open until 2 a.m.