Sign up for our Newsletter

Chef François Payard last fall. (Credit: David Benthal)

The former Caci North Fork building in Southold is home to a new chef with a familiar and highly regarded name.

James Beard award-winning chef François Payard is set to open Southold Social, a new bistro at the site, according to a press release.

Payard, who has been working at nearby Southold General as a pastry chef since last year, is opening the new space in a collaboration with North Fork restaurateur Adam Lovett, who will co-own and operate the new concept. Lovett is already known as an owner and operator of both A Lure in Southold and A Mano in Mattituck.

Payard is a third-generation chef who launched his career at the Michelin-starred La Tour d’Argent in Paris before moving to New York where he worked at Le Bernardin and Restaurant Daniel. He later opened François Payard Patisserie & Bistro. He has won numerous other awards, such as the “Ordre du Mérite Agricole” by the French Government, the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence as well as “Pastry Chef of the Year” by Bon Appétit, according to the press release.

The announcement says the new bistro will use local ingredients and embrace the North Fork’s maritime culture and its status as a wine region. The menu will feature housemade pasta (cavatelli with veal ragu), locally sourced meats (brine-cured pork chop, burger au poivre) and seafood (Montauk black sea bass, lobster roll with piment d’espelette, crudo), according to the press release. The beverage program will include local and Old World wines and will be overseen by Francois Latapie of Little Frog in New York City.

The restaurant space, which has been vacant since Caci closed abruptly in 2018, has been recently renovated. Southold General, which is also affiliated with North Fork Table & Inn, used the building for holiday orders last year.

The new restaurant will have four dining spaces, according to the press release: a classic dining room; a bar area; a tented outdoor patio and a top floor 38-seat private dining space. They also announced plans to unveil a fire pit in the outdoor patio area this summer.