Spending time with Lucy and Erin at Fork & Anchor

Erin Johnson, left, and Lucy Muellner outside their East Marion eatery. (Credit: David Benthal)

One of Lucy Muellner and Erin Johnson’s first encounters with the enchantment of the North Fork was a potluck dinner with local small farmers and artisanal winemakers to which everyone brought some of their own creations.

“That’s what we walked into and it was totally magical,” recalled Muellner, who today splits her time between Fort Greene, Brooklyn and Orient Point.

The women have been extending that magic to others since they opened Fork & Anchor in East Marion in 2011. It took about a year before they really felt their own imprint on the business, which they had purchased as a turn-key deli operation. And we are glad these New York City transplants did, because Fork & Anchor has become THE go-to spot on the North Fork before visiting the beach, the park or taking the boat on the water.

Muellner and Johnson, both 38, created all the recipes, including their popular kale caesar salad, a crispy chicken sandwich with Sriracha mayo (the chicken is brined for 24 hours and then coated in homemade bread crumbs) and a green goddess chicken salad sandwich made with fresh herbs like basil, dill, oregano, parsley and chives. Each of these signature items is fine to enjoy cold, making them perfect to take on the go. Check out their picnic boxes for two at $48.

“Good food is the main idea,” Muellner said. “We use better quality stuff and we go the extra step to make sure everything is homemade.”

The Italian combo at Fork & Anchor. (Credit: David Benthal)

The philosophy is something that was bred into the owners from childhood — Muellner’s in Newton, Mass., and Johnson’s in Wilton, Conn

“My mom made three-course meals every night,” said Muellner, who spent the summers of her youth in Brittany, France, where her mother is from. “The food at home was better than anything from a restaurant.” You’ll also find French influences in Muellner’s cooking — she has an affinity for tarragon and a preference for shallots over white onions and red wine vinegar over balsamic.

And a focus on good food is how they entertain friends.

For her 38th birthday party, Muellner turned a whole Long Island duck over a rotisserie attachment on a Weber charcoal Weber grill. She stuffed the bird with some grapefruit and coated it in a rub. She used it for duck tacos topped, of course, with Fork & Anchor’s salsa.

If you’ll be entertaining at home on the North Fork this summer, there’s also the option of ordering a wrap sampler or sandwich platter as well as salads by the pound.

Market shelves inside Fork & Anchor. (Credit: David Benthal)

The store also carries staples like olive oil, peanut butter, flour, sugar — what they call “good versions of basic groceries” — as well as local goods like Backyard Brine pickles, eggs from Deep Roots Farm in Southold and their own line of relishes.

And if your guests enjoy the meal, pass the compliment on to the proprietors.

“We went into this first and foremost for our love of food and cooking,” said Johnson, who lives in Orient with her husband, Mike, and two young
children.

“To hear from people, ‘That sandwich was amazing’ — that’s the best part,” she said.