Rocco’s Caddyshack has moved into the former Skipper’s Restaurant space in Greenport.
The retro nautical-themed restaurant — complete with pink Cadillac logo — is now serving lunch and dinner with classics like burgers, baked clams and lobster rolls, along with local wine and your choice of more than two dozen craft beers.
“We really are catering to the locals,” said seasoned Greenport restaurateur Bryan “Rocco” Villanti, who purchased the space from longtime owner Bobby Heaney for just under $1 million in August 2015. “This place has always been a local scene and we want to keep it that way while inviting in new people.”
Villanti took over Skipper’s in March 2016 when Heaney retired and operated it in kind until closing for wintertime renovations. Rocco’s Caddyshack officially opened on Monday with fresh paint, a new bar area and a fully equipped kitchen.
“I love the challenge of opening a new place,” Villanti said. “Making it unique is key.”
Villanti previously launched the now-closed Vino N’ Vittles in Greenport back in 2014 and currently operates small bites restaurant Industry Standard on Front Street in the village, which opened in the fall of 2015.
Industry Standard has become known for executive chef Greg Ling’s internationally inspired and locally sourced menu of Peconic Escargot wontons and pork belly ramen as well as experimental dishes such as the recently introduced Impossible burger — a meatless patty that bleeds like beef.
The Greenport restaurant was among the first in the area to incorporate Impossible meats into its dishes — a trend many other restaurants across the country have embraced. Ling is now bringing his creativity and foresight to Rocco’s Caddyshack, where he will also serve as executive chef.
The Impossible burger — along with Industry Standard’s popular $5 burger special and a few other small dishes that have become customer favorites — have also made it on the menu at the Caddyshack
But Ling plans on gearing the majority of the menu toward classic American dishes with an emphasis on comfort foods.
“Industry Standard has become more like a Chinese restaurant,” Ling said in a nod to menu items influenced by his cultural heritage. “We have a lot more to work with here … like a smoker. I plan on doing a lot more seafood and a lot more barbecue.”
The aforementioned barbecue items include pulled pork sandwiches, smoked meat mac and cheese and baby back ribs. As for dessert, the Caddyshack will specialize in ice cream, Villanti said. A retro-style ice cream parlor, which would operate on the west side of the restaurant, is in the works. That section of the eatery would have a take-out window to allow guests to grab scoops on the go.
The theme of the Caddyshack stays true to the history of the building, which backs up to the ninth hole at neighboring Island’s End Golf & Country Club. Since the mid-1950s, the site had operated as a snack bar catering to beachgoers and golfers. Under Heaney’s ownership, Skipper’s expanded to include a 70-seat dining room and bar. Villanti also hopes to add outdoor seating and a breakfast menu in the coming weeks.
Rocco’s Caddyshack, located at 4545 Route 25 in Greenport, is open year-round seven-days a week.