Seaside Grill in Riverhead offers up a great escape if you can find it

Mudslides are a must at Seaside Grill in Riverhead. (Credit: David Benthal)

Occupying a bar stool at Riverhead’s Seaside Grill — drinking a frozen cocktail while staring off at the water — you might just feel like you’re on a Caribbean vacation.

The reality is you’re actually in downtown Riverhead at a true hidden gem on West Main Street, tucked away poolside between the Hyatt Place East End and Treasure Cove Resort Marina.

“Our goal is to transport you to a Caribbean island,” said food and beverage director Daniel Lanieri. “It doesn’t feel like Riverhead.”

Seaside Grill opened in 2010, one year after the hotel, to guests, marina members and locals alike. It started as just a poolside bar but later expanded to include dockside bar and table seating, which allows for quick, dock-and-dine access.

The dockside bar. (Credit: David Benthal)

The resort-inspired cocktail menu doesn’t take itself too seriously, offering festive, fun summertime favorites with an emphasis on Jimmy Buffet-approved frozen concoctions.

 “With the resort style vibe, you’re not drinking wine or beer; you’re drinking cocktails,” Lanieri said. “We experiment with new recipes, but we keep what’s popular.”

This is not exactly a place for the craft beverages the North Fork is known for, this is where you go to satisfy guilty pleasures: think mudslides loaded with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Watching the boats go by, waterfront seating begs for frozen varieties that include the crowd-pleasing mudslide made with premium ice cream, vanilla vodka, Irish cream, Kahlua, chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.

“The mudslide is very popular,” said Seaside Grill general manager Karalyn Kenny. “We have a bunch of marina members that come to order pitchers of it. We call it ‘mudslide o’clock.’ It’s delicious and boozy.”

The poolside bar feels like a tropical resort. (Credit: David Benthal)

If you can’t make it to “mudslide o’clock,” happy hour is weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. The live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays also draws a crowd for some of the other frozen flavors, including banana, mango, margarita, passion fruit, piña colada, strawberry and cappuccino.

Keeping with the laid-back island vibe, the restaurant and bar also eschews fancier glass stemware — it is a poolside bar, after all. Instead, Seaside Grill serves its drinks and food in environmentally friendly biodegradable cups and containers. It’s a part of a larger sustainability objective in conjunction with neighboring Long Island Aquarium, which shares ownership with Seaside Grill.

“It is important to our mission to keep everything sustainable,” Lanieri said. “It is a big part of what we do.”

The 60-seat restaurant serves up a full menu of everything from light bites, such as nachos and grilled chile lime shrimp, to entrees and desserts.

“It is just the perfect place to unwind,” Kenny said. “It is literally paradise in Riverhead.”

Seaside Grill is located at located at 451 E Main Street, Riverhead