The sun was shining, the sea was calm, it was the perfect day for a restaurant opening in New Suffolk.
Case’s Place, the seafood café that replaced the former Galley Ho restaurant, had a soft opening Wednesday.
The restaurant is operated by Ken and Maryann Birmingham of Mattituck on the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund property.
“Construction was just finished last Friday,” Ms. Birmingham said. “So it was right down to the last minute.”
The restaurant seats 66, with space for another 22 at the bar. Blond wooden chairs fill the room, and even the Galley Ho’s mahogany bar remains, but the standout feature is the three gigantic picture windows that look out onto the outdoor deck and beyond that, Robins Island. Tables are available for outdoor dining, along with 10 boat slips for boaters to dock and dine.
Both Birminghams have extensive experience in the food industry. Previously they owned and operated the Riverhead Beef butcher shop. Before that Mr. Birmingham worked for years in the restaurant industry, while Ms. Birmingham recently retired from Cornell Cooperative Extension, where she had been a nutrition coordinator.
Case refers to Ms. Birmingham’s family name with deep roots in the Cutchogue community.
“I’m like 11th generation, we go back to the 1600s in Cutchogue,” she said. “It’s kind of a way to honor my family history here.”
Vintage black and white pictures of Maryan’s family hang on the walls, giving the new space a sense of history.
Now running the kitchen, Mr. Birmingham has brought in old friend Richard Knecht as Case’s chef. The two go way back having worked together many years in the restaurant industry.
“It’s going to be mostly seafood, but because my husband was a butcher for many years, we’ll also have some good steaks and the hamburger meat will be ground on the premises,” Ms. Birmingham said. “He also makes his own kielbasa, bratwurst and seafood sausage.”
Some items on the menu will also be Case family recipes.
“The clam chowder is a family recipe, the strawberry shortcake is my nana’s recipe, and the potato salad,” Ms. Birmingham said. “My mom came from Croatia. There’s some traditional things from over there that I might throw in for a dessert and if I make strudel, that would be from my mother’s side of the family.”
A private dining room that seats 20 people can be used for small private events and will also be used by the NSWF for their meetings.
“Part of our proposal was to work with the community,” Ms. Birmingham said. “The [Waterfront Fund] will use this room for community meetings. It was part of our plan to be in touch and part of the community.”
A 150-year old table from the Case family sits in the center of that room. Ms. Birmingham lovingly pats it as two customers approach to congratulate her on the opening.
“It was delicious, very nice,” said Charlene Goldberg of New Suffolk.
“I had the oysters and that was just delicious,” Denise Reilly of Coram concurred. “I have to come back and try something different every time.”
Case’s Place is now open every day for lunch and dinner, except Mondays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is located at 650 First Street in New Suffolk. For more information call (631) 734-8686.