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Cheo Avila and Amanda Akran at the new Kontiki in Greenport. (Credit: Lee Meyer)

It’s been an exciting start to summer for Cheo Avila.

The Greenport–based chef, who manages the Gallery Hotel and its Mediterranean-inspired Gallery Café, is gearing up to reopen the popular Kontiki restaurant. But this year, the restaurant will be in a larger space across the street, where Avila formerly operated Three Fourteen Bar.

The stylized Asian cuisine of Kontiki has always had a following, but the restaurant’s former location at the Gallery Hotel was prohibitively small for the dinner/nightspot vibe. 

“This momentum has been building for at least three years,” said Avila, who has been steadily growing a brand of bold-colored, flavorful restaurants on Main Street. “It was a natural step to bring it to a bigger place and make it a little more mature. Kontiki is nice and cool and fun, and given the history and architecture of this place — the colors work perfectly — it’s a little more adult.”

Avila credits Gallery Hotel owner Carolyn Rusin with trusting him to expand.

“She’s given me the trust and opportunity,” he said. “She wanted to continue to grow the brand and has great taste.”

Kontiki will continue to serve its classic menu of tropical Asian items, with new offerings planned, thanks to the larger kitchen.

“We have a bigger grill, a bigger fryer,” said Avila. “The idea for the menu is to keep the classics, but also utilize the new tools and toys that we have to create more complex dishes and flavors.”

Some of those planned dishes include whole fish and seafood platters, which Avila feels would complement the new outdoor seating areas. Some other dishes in the pipeline include razor clams, blowfish crudo and skewers. Avila is also planning a pu pu platter at the request of Rusin. Fruity, tiki-style cocktails will be curated by beverage director Amanda Akran. A few of the new menu items will be available later in the summer as Avila has been focused on opening.

While Kontiki reopens in this fabulous new space, Avila continues to operate the Gallery Hotel and café. The hotel is also growing to have new experiences for guests, with a specially curated minibar in each room with items from New York and the North Fork.

“We want to have a synergy between our places,” Avila said.

Kontiki will be open starting this weekend. Check out Kontiki’s Instagram for more.