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On a June night seven years ago, my husband and I had a special dinner at the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold. For years, it had been one of our favorite spots on our visits to the area, but on this night we had something extra amazing to celebrate: We’d put in an offer on a house on a quiet cul-de-sac in Greenport. We were officially North Forkers.

Food helped draw us to this beautiful place — as it has so many others — and the creativity of its chefs, farmers, and winemakers have kept us sated and constantly surprised ever since that night. But in this painful pandemic year, our relationship to them feels so much more meaningful and personal. Stuck at home and cooking for comfort, we’ve become even more grateful for the bounty of local ingredients. Knowing where those ingredients came from, and the farmer that handled them, has been a luxury.

Our restaurants, under unthinkable conditions, have managed to stay safe and stay open. They ramped up delivery and takeout in the spring and made space for outdoor eating when summer rolled around. They’ve dealt with jangled nerves and social distancing frustra ons. Chefs delivered everything from breakfast burritos to four-star meals to front-line health care providers working around the clock at local hospitals.

All of this has made for a difficult year in North Fork food, but one full of evolution on and innovation, too. This food-themed issue tells the story (a lot of them, actually). These pages spotlight farmers putting fresh owers in dinner and fresh veggies in dessert. Discover a best-kept-secret spot for Turkish food in Greenport, a Sicilian dream garden in Aquebogue, and the quartet of restaurants that has revitalized downtown Wading River. Even the grand dame of them all, the North Fork Table & Inn, got a tastefully modest face lift and reopened her doors after a long break.

Fitting, then, that this month should mark a bit of an evolution on here at northforker too, as I join the team as editorial director. My simple goal is to support the North Fork, helping its diverse residents and visitors explore the area, protect the land and water, connect with each other, and give back to our communities. One of the best ways to do that right now is to support North Fork restaurants, farms and wineries the way they’ve sustained us this year. Happy reading — and happy eating.

Sara Austin

Editorial Director