Ryan Flatley is a lifelong Southolder and a graduate of Southold High School, his father the town’s police chief. His business partner Samy Sabil is a Casablanca, Morocco native, who relocated to the area about 11 years ago and has called it home ever since.
Side-by-side descriptions of their hometowns appear on the menus for their new restaurant, North Fork Shack, a nod to the fusion of Mediterranean touches and local seafood which will be the eatery’s hallmark.
Now after two years of planning, the restaurant and takeout spot will open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. It will serve lunch and dinner five or six days per week, year round.
“[People on the North Fork], they really love good food and they love fresh food,” Sabil, 32, said. “We wanted to make something new and we thought there was a need for this.”
A sample menu includes starters like local ceviche with plantain chips as well as shrimp and grit hushpuppies. Bigger portions feature pulled lamb sliders with cilantro-cucumber yogurt sauce and a marinated skirt steak sandwich with fried shallots, mixed greens and horseradish. Sides include shallot dusted fries and mayoless cole slaw.
“We want to focus on making this menu change a lot,” Sabil said. “People can try new things every time they’re here.”
The dining area has been painted an ocean blue and the floors have been laid with ceramic tiles that look like beach wood (like much of the aesthetics, the floors were installed by Sabil and Flatley themselves.) Three communal tables made of shiplap furnish the eatery, which is adorned with burlap and nautical-themed decor.
They will cater to vineyard crowds in need of some bites to break up a day of tastings, as well as locals looking for a different dinner option.
“We want the food to be great quality, but something you can still take a basket of to the beach or a winery,” Sabil said.
The pair met while working together at North Fork Table & Inn about a decade ago. Sabil worked in the front of the house while Flatley eventually worked in the kitchen under the tutelage of the acclaimed late chef Gerry Hayden and his wife, James Beard Award winner Claudia Fleming.
“He taught me everything,” Flatley, 30, said of Hayden.
The pair formed their catering business, Creative Courses, in 2009 after drawing inspiration from a trip to France, Morocco and Spain, including decadent meals in San Sebastian.
“We spent the whole night eating and trying new things and realized this is what we want to do for a living,” Sabil said.
Although the menu will rotate, expect Mediterrean inspired dishes to make frequent appearances.
“It’s an abundance of colors,” Sabil said of Moroccan cuisine. “They can make a simple carrot taste amazing with spices.”
The pair have turned to crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to help cover some opening costs.
As of Thursday, they had raised nearly $8,000 of their $35,000 goal. Click here to make a contribution to their campaign.
North Fork Shack is located 41150 Route 48 in Southold. Reach them at (631) 876-5566.