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The building at 2925 N. Wading River Road will soon be home to Watermark of Wading River. (Credit: MLS)

If you’ve driven the back roads of Wading River in recent years you’ve probably discovered Michael Anthony’s Food Bar, the tucked away restaurant on North Wading River Road that closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. And if you’re an old school Wading River resident, you might even recall when it was the hidden gem 2X4 Restaurant.

Now the space is about to get a new lease on life.

The building’s new owners have announced plans for Watermark of Wading River, an upcoming restaurant that will serve breakfast lunch and dinner from the former owner of Munday’s in Huntington.

Cosmo Parrella, who sold his Huntington business after 20 years in 2019, is partnering with longtime friend Shawn Piazza and his wife Ashley on the new venture.

Parrella had initially planned to open a new restaurant closer to his home in Miller Place after his daughter graduated from college, but then the pandemic hit. 

“Everybody always says, ‘Great timing!’ but my game plan that I had set was all shredded up,” said Parrella. “But now this opportunity arose when the Michael Anthony’s [building] became available.”

To develop the new restaurant, Parrella reached out to Piazza, a construction professional, who had done work both on his home and former business. He’s already begun renovations to pave the way for Watermark, which includes new siding for the exterior.

“Shawn has an incredible eye for interior design and colors,” said Parrella, who noted that the “footprint” of the building remains the same. “Where the bar is, the dining room…that’s all there.”

The new restaurant will incorporate all of the lessons Parrella learned from running his Huntington luncheonette.  Guests can expect burgers and steaks in the afternoon and evenings, pancakes and eggs in the morning.

“My vision is that I’m looking for a place where people can come in, be relaxed and feel comfortable and enjoy themselves,” he said. “A lot of my customers would come to Munday’s, if not two or three times a week, two or three times a day.”

Parrella also said he wants to honor the history of the building, which many locals knew as the 2X4 for decades. He recently reached out to Sid Bail of the Wading River Historical Society to learn about it, and has an old menu from the restaurant he plans to showcase, and is looking for some photos from its heyday.

“Longevity is in the building’s bones,” said Parrella. “It’s in its ‘two-by-fours,’ its rafters. You just gotta get the wheels on the track to get it going. And that’s what I’m hoping to do.”

Watermark of Wading River is set for an opening sometime this spring, with Piazza and Parrella both currently aiming for April.