Waypoint restaurant opens in former Pepi’s in Southold

Yvonne and Andre Buonaiuto of Waypoint. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

A pair of longtime restaurateurs has opened new waterfront dining option in Southold. Italian-American eatery Waypoint is serving up farm-to-table fare with Sicilian influences in the former Pepi’s restaurant space in Southold. 

Expect a menu of grilled calamari skewers, lobster deviled eggs and bone-in veal chop prepared with fresh herbs and peppers. The prime dry-aged steaks — available in a variety of cuts — are also a highlight. It is the lobster ravioli made with bay scallops and shrimp in a cognac cream sauce, however, that is one of the immediate customer favorites.

“I love to make ravioli,” said co-owner and executive chef Yvonne Marie Buonaiuto. “It is my thing. This is the food I grew up on.”

Yvonne is a first-generation Sicilian-American who developed a love of cooking from her grandma. She grew up in Brooklyn where her grandparents tended to a garden full of fava beans, tomatoes, eggplant and basil that were used in home-cooked meals.

The ceviche at Waypoint. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

It was farm-to-table before it was a trendy term and it inspired Yvonne to peruse a lifetime worth of cooking for family, friends and in the catering business.

Yvonne worked for a large oil company while raising her three children, when her husband, Andre, received an opportunity to build and operate restaurants in New Mexico. The move would take them away from their Smithtown home and onto a culinary adventure.

Yvonne and Andre opened their first restaurant Pasta Café in a small 55-seat space in 1993. Within 25 years, Pasta Café grew to five locations — all which currently operate under different ownership. The couple continues to launch restaurants for other proprietors in Arizona — he as builder/operations manager and she as executive chef.

The lure of the North Fork drew the couple back to New York. Andre’s family has owned a home in Mattituck for decades. His cousin and business partner Jimmy Orioli and his son also own At Your Services Party Rentals in Mattituck.

The restaurant on the Peconic Bay offers outdoor seating and a dock dining options. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The partners had discussed opening a family-run restaurant on the North Fork for a couple years and the timing was right this April when they took over the 120-seat waterfront restaurant.

The location on the Peconic Bay sealed the deal the Buonaiutos.

“What drew us was the view,” Andre said. “The water makes it special to us. There is no water in desert of New Mexico. And, there is no place like home.”

Waypoint opened for the season last week with indoor/outdoor seating and dock-and-dine services. The restaurant is open seven days.

Visit them at 400 Old Main Road in Southold.

cmurray@timesreview.com

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