The Cutchogue Diner is traditionally open for breakfast and lunch, but a new pop-up series is changing that.
On Feb. 11, the Cutchogue Diner held its first-ever Cutchogue Diner After Dusk, a dinner pop-up with a special menu by Jess Kelleher of That’s What She Fed, a private chef service. The sold-out evening featured Kelleher’s unique take on diner standards and was so successful that Cutchogue Diner After Dusk is being turned into a series.
“My friends [Joe Burga and Monica Halpert] and I were talking about how fun it would be to do a pop-up,” said Evan Touhey, whose parents have owned the diner since the 1980s. “We said, why not try the diner? It closes at 3 p.m. and it’s amazing at night. It’s a cool vibe. We just put it together.”
For the event, Kelleher was tasked with creating her own take on diner food. “I do gluten-free and organic, so to have that version of diner food is pretty fun and in line with the times,” Kelleher said. “The diner is this iconic spot here and it’s not open at night!”
Kelleher, who is used to making individual meals for clients and customers, was nervous to work in the Cutchogue Diner’s kitchen, but rose to the occasion.
The gluten-free and non-dairy menu consisted of takes on spinach and artichoke dip with chips, butternut squash paleo maple bacon pancake bites made with hemp seeds and pepitas, baked falafel with tzatziki sauce, cream of broccoli soup in coffee mugs, vegan kale salad with chickpea croutons, chicken and waffles (chicken thighs and sweet potato fritters to make the waffles) and sweet potato lentil shepherd’s pie. Brookie (brownie and cookie) pie was served for dessert.
“I went into it thinking everyone was going to get chicken and waffles, but nearly half the place got the pie,” Kelleher said.
The event sold out quickly.
“Everyone was asking when we were going to do it again,” Touhey said.
He is planning the next Cutchogue Diner After Dusk for April. Each night will have a different menu, and Touhey said the next menu hasn’t been solidified yet.
Information on the next Cutchogue Diner After Dusk will be posted on the Cutchogue Diner Instagram.