Imagine a summer beach cottage.
But add to that thought an outdoor bar, a pergola-covered patio and restaurant seating for about 120 people and you have Brent Pelton and Dennis McDermott’s vision for their new Greenport joint venture.
“Lots of wood. Lots of pillows,” McDermott said during a recent tour of the space. “We’re going to put in beautiful windows up high to bring in lots of light.”
Pelton, who lives in Hells Kitchen and practices wage recovery law with his firm Pelton & Associates, purchased the complex known as Stirling Square for $1.95M in September. Now he has partnered with McDermott, the former owner of both the now-shuttered Riverhead Project and Greenport’s popular The Frisky Oyster, to overhaul the center’s anchor building and reopen a restaurant there.
The eatery’s working title is “American Beech” named in part for the large American Beech tree located in the square’s center, and also a play on the village’s coastal vibe.
The pair, who have already begun making changes, hope to open by early summer.
In spring 2013, Stirling Square became the multi-venture restaurant complex operated by chef Keith Luce known as “The Square.” It closed the following December. Entrepreneur Matt Michel has since opened the popular pizza joint 1943 Pizza Bar and the bar Brix and Rye there.
The building that housed American Beech’s future home has been closed ever since, but the pair are already hard at work on its transformation.
Gone is a raw bar located directly to the left of the main entrance. Green tiles in the eatery’s back right corner will be removed and a scissor stair case will soon be installed by a new side entrance, leading to a new five-room inn upstairs.
“It’s a reconfiguring. It’s going to be more spacious, more accessible,” McDermott said.
“We’re really excited about the design concept,” said Pelton.
Another change: the large bright yellow awning over the restaurant’s patio will soon be removed.
“We’re very excited to remove the awning,” Pelton said.
Though the partners have not yet secured a chef, they said the cuisine will be moderately-priced American fare.
“It will be American cuisine and the price is going to be approachable,” McDermott said. “We want everybody to be able to come whenever they want.”
The restaurant will likely be open for lunch and dinner with an all-day bar menu.
Both men thanked the people of Greenport, who they said have welcomed them with open arms, for their support of the project,
“We really want to be part of the community,” Pelton said.
McDermott said the abrupt closing of the Riverhead Project in September, the much-lauded eatery which was heralded as a milestone in ongoing recovery of downtown Riverhead, was “devastating” for him. But he said returning to Greenport, where he opened and sold The Frisky Oyster and The Frisky Oyster Bar, has been like a homecoming.
“It threw me for a loop,” he said. “But five years have come and gone and I see things from a new perspective.”