For nearly a decade, the former Porto Bello restaurant building on Route 48 in Mattituck has sat empty, its facade hidden by overgrown vines.
The 5,000-square-foot building will soon be revived as a tasting room-style establishment known as the North Fork Roadhouse.
Brian and Keith Lewin of Lewin Medical Supply, along with Cuddy’s owner Jon Troyan, bought the property at 9095 Sound Ave. to open a family-friendly place that offers local wine, cider, beer and spirits, they said.
The three friends from high school want to transform it into a hangout spot.
“We’re going to be really different from a lot of other places because we have a lot more property,” Keith said. “We’ll be able to do car shows, motorcycle shows and different things.”
It won’t be a typical sit-down restaurant, but instead a place where people can play games while relaxing and eating in a family-friendly environment. The style of food has not been decided yet, but they are leaning toward barbecue. They will open for lunch, remain open probably until 1 or 2 a.m. and will offer brunch on weekends. Table service will be limited.
“We figured it was something different and it seemed like a really good idea,” Keith said. “It needs a lot of work. I think it’ll be an asset to the North Fork.”
The deal closed about two weeks ago, although the trio has been in talks about the purchase for about two years. According to the Southold Town assessor’s records, the most recent owner was JIMD Inc. State records listed ownership under Mary Ellen Duffy of Cutchogue. The property remained vacant for so long because of the work that needed to be put back into it, Keith said.
“We’re just trying to have a nice, family atmosphere,” Brian said. “We want to bring a lot of families out to the North Fork and have a good time for everybody.”
Sometime in the future, he added, they would love to brew their own beer.
“I think what’s going to be unique about our place is that we’re going to offer almost all of the breweries that are local,” Troyan said. “You’re going to be able to come here and try everybody’s beer, some wines locally, and enjoy the fields and entertainment atmosphere.”
Troyan said the Cuddy’s location in a small, residential neighborhood in South Jamespsort doesn’t provide an opportunity to host large events.
“I looked for a place that would allow me to do this without disrupting people’s lives,” he said.
Sitting on almost two acres, it lends itself to a lot of open space for games like giant Jenga and cornhole.
There will be about 40 taps in a brand-new bar stretching along the first floor, featuring products mostly from the North Fork.
The main structure of the building will remain intact, but serious renovations are needed because the building was unoccupied for so long. Mid-June is the tentative opening date. Troyan said he is meeting with the Southold Town Planning Board this week to discuss any necessary plan submittals.
“We just want it to be a fun atmosphere for everyone,” Keith said.