Coolest northforker stories of 2015: PawPaw pops up in Greenport

Taylor Knapp pours a cup of black locust tea for Jessica Melendez of Southold. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Taylor Knapp pours a cup of black locust tea for Jessica Melendez of Southold. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

We’re counting down the top coolest stories of 2015 on northforker.com. We will publish one story on our list per day, every day, until Jan. 1.

Coming in at number 10 is PawPaw pop-up restaurant in Greenport.

Mushroom stuffed eclair and crispy duck tongues, anyone?

Those unusual yet delightful dishes were among the offerings at PawPaw, a weekly 16-seat dining experience that takes place Monday evenings at The Cheese Emporium by Bruce & Son.

The brainchild of North Fork chef Taylor Knapp, the dinner features mostly local items, many of them foraged, and the menu is dictated by season. Knapp prepares the meals while his fiancée, Katelyn Luce, runs the front of the house.

Patrons dine family-style and, at $65 a pop, seats are frequently reserved several weeks in advance.


READ MORE: PAWPAW OFFERS ONE-OF-A-KIND DINING EXPERIENCE


An Indiana native, Knapp studied at Johnson & Wales and later worked at Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, widely considered one of the world’s best restaurants. He’s also the owner and head snail-wrangler at Peconic Escargot snail farm in Cutchogue, which he expects to be operational by the end of the year.

The name PawPaw refers to a fleshy, grapefruit-sized fall fruit found in Knapp’s native Midwest and is a nod to the weekly dinners’ seasonal and hyper-local origins.

At PawPaw, diners don’t choose their own meals. Instead, the night’s offerings are planned in advance and the same food is served to everyone in attendance.

“I think it’s a really good snapshot of exactly what’s happening in Long Island agriculture at that moment,” Knapp, who is the former chef at First and South in Greenport, told us. “We do a different menu every single week, so we’re getting a really clear picture of what’s happening.”