New and improved Island businesses set for summer

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO Kate Cunningham and Howard Johansen at Vue.
Kate Cunningham and Howard Johansen at Vue.

Businesses are gearing up for the summer of 2015 to make our lives more interesting, easier and hopefully, a whole lot tastier. The biz buzz this year is on the new and the revamping of some old favorites, as well as the addition of several professional service providers.

First and foremost, pick up a copy of  the Shelter Island Comprehensive Guide, compiled by Melina Wein and Yvonne Purcell. Whether you’re a fulltime resident, casual visitor or weekender, this guide is an indispensable collection of everything you need to know about the Island.

“I wanted to compile the information in a comprehensive guide outlining the various organizations, recreation and tourism opportunities, businesses, artists, entertainment etc. in one source,” Ms. Wein said.

Copies are available at Island businesses or at Melina Wein Realty on North Ferry Road.

Eat, drink, sleep
The Chequit’s new owners have given the venerable Heights landmark a complete face lift, with the public areas, 21 guest rooms and suites refurbished in a style that former guests JFK and Marilyn Monroe would undoubtedly have enjoyed. Salt Hotels, the new proprietors, hope the Red Maple restaurant, as well as a coffee shop, will be on-stream sometime in June, but in the meantime, the bar and hydrangea-bordered patio are open for business. The hotel’s retail premises on Washington Avenue will soon be occupied by Wampum, a lifestyle shop out of Bridgehampton, which will carry Chequit-branded merchandise. Check out the new website for room views rates and reservations.

The hotel and restaurant on Stear­ns Point Road last known as La Maison Blanche, has also been sold and re-christened Shelter Island House. This winter, Keith Bavaro and Ali Bevilacqua of SALT ran a popular pop-up restaurant there, The Tavern, that found its niche with its emphasis on comfort food. According to Mr. Bavaro, Shelter Island House will be positioned as “an amazing seasonal restaurant” that will be constantly changing. For the summer, expect to see a “locovore” focus, with foods sourced not only from the East End, but New York State and the Berkshires. Call 749-1633 for hours and reservations.

At SALT, Ali and Keith have hired a sushi chef to supplement their popular menu items such as fish tacos and lobster rolls, and acoustic music will be playing seven days a week in the Shipwreck Bar. “From Memorial Day through Labor Day we’ll be open seven days a week, which we’ve never done before,” said Mr. Bavaro. Call 749-5535 for daily specials and reservations.

If you’re planning a late summer event or even a wedding, the Island Boatyard will be reopening its banquet space this season. “It’s been a long process,” said James Brantuck. “We were really delayed by Hurricane Sandy but are now on track for an opening late this summer.”

The view from Goat Hill has always been a draw but with the opening of Vue restaurant, the food should be as well. Partners Harry Brigham, Ian Weslek and Joe Piscatello are aiming to provide “classic American food” at family-friendly prices. “The plan from the beginning was to put together a family restaurant so people with children could eat out more than once a week,” said Mr. Brigham. “The partners have children and know what it costs to take five or six people out to eat.”

There is a Thursday lobster special, daily chef’s choices and, later on, “lighter lunch items for the beach crowd,” according to Mr. Brigham. Lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; closed Tuesday and Wednesday until late June. 749-5424.

Sweet Tomato’s on Grand Avenue has been an Island favorite for 13 years, but the 2015 season marks a new step in its life. Owners James and Mary Rando have brought in a new management team, including manager Adrien Angelvy, formerly from La Goulue in New York City, and Oscar Del Rosario, an alumni of Jean-Georges, as chef de cuisine.

With a newly renovated kitchen, there’s a revamped menu of traditional and seasonal Italian favorites, such as homemade pastas as well as the popular pizza, now available in the dining room, and a new wine list. 749-4114.

Star’s Cafe on Grand Avenue in the Heights is still one of the best places for breakfast or lunch, or anytime to take a break for delicious coffee and pastries. In a modern era where eateries all look the same, serving the same kind of food and drink, Stars retains the atmosphere of the old-sytle cafe, where good conversation flows along with first rate food and drink, inside or at tables on Grand Avenue. 749-5345.

The former home of the Roy Reeve Insurance Agency, which has moved to Mattituck, is in the process of becoming James Hull’s Shelter Island Craft Brewery. Mr. Hull will be brewing small batch beers on the premises, using “top-quality ingredients, some of which are grown here on Shelter Island,” including hops from Michael Clark and honey from the Brigham and Kilb families.

After he gets the requisite permits, Mr. Hull will be offering small scale tastings on the copper-topped bar and retail sales of three beers — Shelter Island Liquid Sunshine, 114 Minutes and Twin Forks Harvest Ale — as well as a rotating line of specialty brews. Watch for his grand opening in the next few weeks.

Marie Eiffel took over the premises known as Reddings three summers ago and kept the name as they made their mark on the popular Bridge Street spot. This year, however, she’s put her own signature firmly on the windows, re-naming it Marie Eiffel Market. In addition to the great selection of cheeses, homemade specials and baked goods that they’ve had in summers past, they now offer an expanded line of gluten-free products, including homemade granola, pastas and quiches, as well as more hot menu items, such as their signature sliced pork sandwich with barbecue sauce. The renovated interior is light, bright and airy and the tables on the back deck overlooking the harbor are a sublime place to enjoy a snack or a meal from 6 a.m. onward.

Across Bridge Street, the Dory welcomes Executive Chef Daniel Wajdik. According to owner Jack Kiffer, “Chef Danny” brings with him “a profound appreciation for food and a passion for creating mouth-watering dishes” and will be introducing a “vibrant and delicious menu of locally bought fresh seafood and vegetables” that can be enjoyed on the Dory’s waterfront dining deck. Lunch and dinner daily. 749-4300.

New gallery, lots of services
Also on Bridge Street is the newly opened Galerie Mallory, Mallory Samson’s venue to showcase her large-scale photographs, as well as the work of other artists. A former fashion and creative photographer who has worked for Ina Garten, J. Crew, Brides Magazine and many other well-known lifestyle brands, Ms. Sampson admits that her newest venture is an “organic process and a new creative outlet in decorative fine art.” Her summer plans are evolving to include several innovative shows.

Kenny Keyser has been providing landscape services on the South Fork for 21 years so when he moved to Shelter Island last November, he brought his business, Cottage Gardens, with him. Along with design, installation and maintenance of all aspects of outdoor property, Mr. Keyser does container plantings and water features, including streams, pools and fountains.

He also offers fencing, masonry and other “hardscaping” elements, using native and low maintenance plants. “About the only thing we don’t do is electrical work,” he said. A selection of his installations can be seen at 749-5700 or 353-1183.

East End Pest Control has a new owner in P.J. Lechmanski, who is licensed and certified to help you get rid of all sorts of pests, from termites to rodents, as well as spraying ornamental plantings with deer repellent. “If there’s an unwanted insect in your home, I can probably take care of it,” he said. 749-8952.

For the 10th anniversary of All Dogged Up, Amber Anglin is expanding to provide a larger space for doggie day care and has created multiple fenced areas on her property to separate animals of different sizes. “We like to think of it as the dog is coming to stay with Auntie Amber,” she said.

In addition to 24-hour boarding, All Dogged Up provides affordable grooming services — baths and nail cuts run from $15 to $35. Day care is $30 for 12 hours, and she carries toys and chews, as well as Blue Buffalo food. Ms. Anglin also grooms cats but doesn’t board them. 749-0702.

Attorney Cathy Kenny recently moved to the Island full time and after deciding she was “not ready for fulltime retirement,” opened a practice concentrating on trusts and estates and residential closings. In the former, she handles wills, health care proxies, living wills, trusts and the like, and feels there’s a great deal of “satisfaction in helping a family member after someone passes away or in giving someone peace of mind in preparing his or her will and advanced directives,” she said. Closings, she noted, are just “fun.

They’re usually happy occasions for people, and I appreciate the excitement a new opportunity or home brings to the process.” Hours are by appointment. 749 1848 or 917-991-1269.

If you own technology, at some point you are going to have questions or problems. Enter Joe O’Haire, an IT specialist and long-time “computer guy” for the U.S. Postal Service, who moved to the Island last year along with his company, Crystal Media. Mr. O’Haire specializes in computer repair, networking, web design, video services and audio visual merging needs — in other words, getting that so-called smart TV to work with your home entertainment system — as well as a full range of services for businesses.

He works on both PCs and Macs. “For anything technical — whether it be designing and or maintaining a computer network, website design and or maintenance, video production, video editing or photography — I’m the guy,” Mr. O’Haire said. Call 749-4144 for an appointment.

Jackie Black’s Studio Frameworks is celebrating 10 years providing museum-quality art framing on Shelter Island. In addition to featuring frames constructed from sustainable hardwoods and wood from Shelter Island-sourced trees, she has added a “renew and restore” service this year, which upgrades existing framing from old acidified materials to modern acid-free materials to preserve family photos and other artwork. “This is a very affordable way to keep your art preserved and refreshed without going to the expense of a whole new frame package,” Ms. Black said. As always, she offers a 10 percent discount to artists. She can be reached at 646-621-5083 or [email protected]

With the relocation of the Griffing & Collins real estate agency to Grand Avenue, long-time Island real estate professional Janalyn Travis-Messer has also added a new business, DJTM Enterprises, a general construction company specializing in pre-fabricated homes. “We can build on your land or ours,” said Ms. Travis-Messer, “and we’re licensed to build in multi states.”

The new space not only affords the agency and construction company increased walk-in traffic, but provides gallery space for rotating works of Island artists such as Kathy Hammond and Janet Culbertson, with Hap Bowditch’s sculpture on permanent display. Check out the agency’s new website at