A pair of power restaurateurs — who between the two of them have been involved in successful ventures from New York City to St. Thomas — have inked a deal to lease the former Riverhead Project building on East Main Street, according to the parties involved.
Matt DeMar and John Cestare recently signed a lease with Christopher Pia, who owns the space at 300 E. Main Street in Riverhead, though no plans have been set for the new venture. When reached by phone Wednesday evening Demar, a former WKTU DJ who went by the name “Kid Panic,” was sparse on details.
“There’s nothing to say about it. There hasn’t been any decision as to what is going in there,” he said, adding that the duo was drawn to the area due to its ongoing revitalization. “I always liked Riverhead. I think whatever we bring to the town will help revitalize it.”
Demar said additional details, including the new business’ name, will be announced in the coming weeks.
Pia said he felt optimistic about the deal, which he said was signed last week.
“Good things are coming,” Pia said in an email. “Riverhead is the right place and potentially the right time. I picked this group because they were young, smart and energetic.”
Cestare, who is a co-owner of multiple Señor Frogs and McFaddens franchises as well as Sonoma Grill in Holtsville, had been looking for an East End space for some time, according to real estate agent Sheri Winter Clarry, who brokered the deal.
“I had been working with them on something a bit further east that wound up not working out,” she said. “I felt they were, without question, the right fit to bring this space and Riverhead to the next level.”
“Everything they touch turns to gold,” she added.
The Riverhead Project, heralded as a major milestone in the ongoing revitalization of downtown River when it opened its doors in 2011, closed in September.