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Chefs Cheo Avila and Ryan Barth-Dwyer have opened The Gallery Cafe in Greenport. (Credit: Lee Meyer)

The Gallery Cafe, a new restaurant concept by Chef Cheo Avila and Chef de Cuisine Ryan Barth-Dwyer, has opened at the Gallery Hotel.

Avila, who is known for being the head chef of Kon-Tiki in the same space, now manages both the restaurant and the hotel and wanted to offer a more robust breakfast and lunch menu to both hotel guests and greater Greenport. 

“We’ve always had this need for breakfast here,” said Avila, who noted that the hotel previously only offered a continental breakfast for guests. 

That, coupled with industry-wide staffing issues and a desire to create a new and unique breakfast and lunch spot in Greenport, led Avila and Barth-Dwyer to develop the Gallery Cafe with a Mediterranean Basin-inspired menu. 

Far from the more conventional brunch offerings North Forkers may be used to, the menu includes dishes steeped in the tastes of Turkey, Israel, Lebanon and more. 

Both Avila and Barth-Dwyer point to the Heavenly Egg Nest — poached eggs, avocado, garlic yogurt sauce, red pepper and mint butter and sourdough bread — as a menu highlight, as well as sweet items like the Mosaic Cake, dark chocolate biscuit cake, walnuts and hazelnuts topped with ice cream.

“This menu is based on Ryan’s likings and something that’s got a [different] composition, food-wise,” Avila said.

Barth-Dwyer, who has worked with Avila at Kon-Tiki for several years, is no stranger to the North Fork, having visited Greenport growing up with family.

He started working in restaurant kitchens when he was 17 and eventually moved on to corporate event planning. When he moved back to the North Fork, he worked at Olive Branch Restaurant & Bar before meeting Avila and working at Kon-Tiki right before the start of the pandemic.

“I always knew, ultimately, I wanted to work in restaurants,” Barth-Dwyer said. “I didn’t expect to be back so soon.”

The chef de cuisine is also known as DJ Diego Knows and produces electronic music.

“Both of these things are artistic for me,” he said. “It’s two different outlets that I can take time on both and, at the end of the day, feel like I’m not just focused on one thing.”

Avila stressed that the Gallery Cafe is a collaborative effort, and noted that beverage director Amanda Akran is crafting a cocktail menu in keeping with the light, Mediterranean theme. Some cocktails include a cucumber margarita and lavender lemonade with gin. 

Barth-Dwyer’s wife and the restaurant’s bartender, Eda, is also contributing, having created several savory jams for the various menu items.

“She said carrot jam and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’” joked Avila.

Eda made a batch of carrot jam that blew everyone away.

“She brings us a jar, and it’s like, the most vibrant shade of orange you’ve ever seen,” Barth-Dwyer said. “It tasted of cloves and cinnamon, so nicely flavored. The profiles were very subtle.”

Of course, Kon-Tiki remains a recognizable and popular name in Greenport, and Avila and Barth-Dwyer plan on opening Kon-Tiki at night sometime during the upcoming season in the same space.

“You’re going to spend the whole day with us,” Barth-Dwyer said. “Breakfast, lunch, hang out and then you’re gonna have dinner in the Kon-Tiki way. At the end of the day, making somebody’s day better by serving them or getting them a piece of food they’ve never had before — that reaction is why we do it.”

The Gallery Cafe (437 Main Street, Greenport) is currently open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.