North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse opens in Wading River

Patrick Gaeta preparing his North Fork Bacon last year. (Credit: Rachel Young, file)

Patrick Gaeta preparing his North Fork Bacon last year. (Credit: Rachel Young, file)

Get your wet naps out, barbecue fans: North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse has opened its doors in downtown Wading River.

Patrick Gaeta, the restaurant’s co-owner and executive chef, confirmed today the eatery opened pending a successful fire marshal inspection.

A full-time X-ray technician at Long Island Bone and Joint, Mr. Gaeta said North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse, located in the former  The Pizza Pie location, will initially operate Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until “everything is sold out.”

“I’m just ecstatic to finally begin cooking out of the place,” Mr. Gaeta said. “It’s been five long months and hundreds of hours of labor, long days, weekends, nights — whatever it took to get here.”

Mr. Gaeta, who owns the restaurant with friend and former co-worker Michael Troyan, said North Fork Bacon and Smokehouse will feature a daily menu focusing on barbecue and bacon. A la carte lunch meats will also be available.

Rotating offerings will include chicken, pulled pork, sliced brisket, burnt ends, St. Louis cut spare ribs, jerk chicken wings and barbecue buffalo wings. Sides will include macaroni and cheese with crispy, Applewood-smoked bacon; barbecue pit baked beans; house-made coleslaw; macaroni salad and potato salad; house-cut French fries and fried pickles.

Plans for an eatery were first reported in November. Mr. Gaeta’s initial foray into the restaurant business was with North Fork Bacon, his brand of in-house smoked and cured bacon made from Berkshire pigs sourced out of upstate New York.

The product popped up on the menus of multiple local restaurants last summer, including as a burger topping at Blackwells at Great Rock in Wading River. For a time, it was available for sale in one-pound packages at My Butcher, also in Wading River.

Mr. Gaeta credits his friends and family with helping him launch the business.

“I really want to thank all my family, friends, for all their hard work, my partner and his wife for having the faith in me to let me pursue my dreams, and the community for being so supportive of us,” he said.

Now, Mr. Gaeta said, he’s ready for North Fork Bacon & Smokehouse to help transform the Wading River Historical District, which has fallen into commercial decline over recent years.

“We want to bring life back to downtown Wading River,” he said. “It feels like a ghost town without a lot of traffic. Time to change that.”

ryoung@timesreview.com