On most days you can find Orient Country Store co-owner Miriam Foster hand rolling pastries on the counter while she casually chats with a regular customer.
There you will see newspaper clippings highlighting local residents who have been featured in the national media for their accomplishments. And a note tacked to a community bulletin advertises that one resident is always up for a game of chess, and advertises his or her number.
There might not be anything quite like this small town gem on all of Long Island.
That the North Fork’s easternmost café, general store and meeting place also makes for a yummy mid-day meal only adds to its charm.
In this week’s edition of “What’s For Lunch?” we recommend a small tomato coconut curry soup ($6) and a grilled cheese sandwich ($5.50) from this Village Lane staple.
I originally wanted to order the Orient Country Store’s homemade chicken tortilla soup (though all the soups are homemade), but was disappointed to learn they were sold out.
But one sip of the tomato coconut curry and I was over that letdown.
Coconut milk, whole puréed tomatoes and a blend of spices made by Foster’s husband Grayson Murphy make up this tasty tomato soup with an Indian flair. And without dairy, it makes a great vegan option.
Another cute, down home touch: if you take your meal to stay, the soup is served in a mug bearing the store’s logo.
Good old American cheese is served on white bread for the sandwich, but the real treat is the side of sweet pickles, which are also made by Murphy. What made those pickle chips served on a recent Wednesday afternoon so good was the addition of turmeric, Foster told us.
Their twist on this classic comfort food combo will warm your tummy on a cold day.
What’s for lunch is a weekly northforker.com column highlighting delicious mid-day meals on the North Fork. Suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.