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Melvin Recinos, owner at Lucia in Mattituck. (Photo Credit: David Benthal)

Like everyone on the North Fork, chefs can’t wait to dig into local summer food. We asked some of our favorite foodies: What dish from another restaurant are you excited to order? And how will you prepare your favorite summer foods? Read their answers for some serious eating inspo.

MELVIN RECINOS, Lucia Restaurant, Mattituck 

What I’m ordering: “When summer comes, for me it is always seafood time. I am very excited for grilled octopus from Hellenic Snack Bar & Restaurant. It makes a perfect combination with horiatiki salata! Their famous lemonade you can have with any meal and it’s so refreshing!” 

What I’m cooking: “Oregon Road Farm in Cutchogue always supplies us with squash and tomatoes. We use the squash for our pupusas, we grill it as a side or roast it. We use the fresh tomatoes for a sauce and salad. The tomatoes are so juicy that you can’t stop eating them!” 

LINH TRIEU, Wednesday’s Table, Southold 

What I’m ordering: “Summer in the Northeast always brings to mind seafood for me. What most people go for is the iconic lobster roll, and while there are many great lobster rolls in various restaurants on the North Fork, what I usually want in the summer are Charlie’s Seafood Stuffies at Southold Fish Market. I don’t allow myself to have them too often because it is physically impossible for me to have just one. I squeeze a wedge of lemon over the oh-so-buttery breadcrumbs that hold all those juicy bits of clam, shrimp and scallop, and I am in seafood heaven. It’s not a full dish per se, but it is so good I usually eat so much that I can’t fit anything else.” 

What I’m cooking: “My favorite summer produce is the tomato. I actually used to hate tomatoes when I was much younger. I wouldn’t go near the things. Then, when I was 23, I took a trip to Barcelona and had my first bite of Pan con Tomate, which literally translates to bread with tomato. I was a changed woman. A piece of grilled bread rubbed with garlic, olive oil and a super-ripe tomato. So simple yet so delicious when the tomatoes are at their peak. Luckily for us, we are blessed on the North Fork with an abundance of juicy tomatoes soaking up the sun’s heat throughout the summer. I like to just grill up some nice rustic sourdough, rub it with a little garlic, slice up a beautiful heirloom tomato, drizzle it with some good olive oil, and sprinkle on a few flakes of coarse sea salt and I’m transported to that first time.” 

Photography by David Benthal

Marissa Drago, Main Road Biscuit Co., Jamesport 

What I’m ordering: “We will make the trip over to Sunset Beach on Shelter Island several times over the summer for the most perfectly fried artichokes. We also very much enjoy the Tuna Poke Bowl from chef Bruce Miller at Port in Greenport. Just add the beautiful North Fork sunset and a glass of rosé and you’re set!” 

What I’m cooking: “My favorite summer produce is … tomatoes, of course! I tend to favor the sugar-sweet Sun Golds from Golden Earthworm Farm in Jamesport and pair them with the beautiful seedless yellow watermelon from Wowak Farms in Mattituck with just a sprinkle of feta cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper and a few tears of fresh basil from my garden.”

SHANE HOPE, Shadees Jamaican Restaurant, Riverhead 

What I’m ordering: “I am most looking forward to having a nice T-bone steak, roasted sweet potato with cinnamon butter and steamed broccoli with garlic sauce from J&R’s Steakhouse. When we did go out to eat, this was our go to.” 

What I’m cooking: “I love to create veggie dishes all year round. As for the summer, well I guess that would be corn. Last summer I attempted a corn chowder. It was one of my best creations. Preparation was as easy as having leftover corn brought from one of the local farm stands. Not wanting to waste the buy, I put together corn, potatoes, dumpling, celery, pumpkin noodles and coconut milk — Jamaican style.” 

Photography by David Benthal

JENNIE WERTS, Ellen’s on Front, Greenport 

What I’m ordering: “I am very excited for Barba Bianca to return. It’s my go-to restaurant when and if I ever have time to eat out. I love their house-made focaccia as well as their Fregola con Vongole. I’m excited to see what new dishes chef DeCarlo brings this summer. Peasant was one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in Manhattan.” 

What I’m cooking: “The corn out here is phenomenal. It’s in our most popular dish, which is the Pea Leaves and Crispy Quinoa salad. It’s on the menu year round; however, when the corn is in season it’s just that much better. Asking Charlie from Southold Fish Market what’s available and looking good seafood-wise is always fun. I’ve kind of kept the [Ellen’s] menu with easily transportable dishes for takeout, but with greater capacity coming soon, I’m definitely going to bring back a more composed fish dish … probably involving corn as well.”