North Fork natives Amanda Falcone and Kyle Romeo are the chef couple who run Barrow Food House in Aquebogue. Their under-the-radar faves include craft beers, everything bagels, ice cream, fishing spots and local farms.
Recently, Amanda Falcone and Kyle Romeo, along with their 6-year-old son, Bennet, moved around the corner from their popular restaurant, Barrow Food House. The family lived above it, in an 1850s farmhouse that they rebuilt themselves since the eatery opened in 2019. “It’s nice to have a little healthy separation from work,” says Falcone. The married chef-owners have been part of the local restaurant scene for years, working at North Fork Table & Inn and American Beech before opening their own spot. “We wanted a place with a pub feel, that served quality, takeout fast food done right,” says Romeo of the locally sourced ingredients and literally homemade fare.
Falcone and Romeo both grew up on the North Fork (Falcone in Aquebogue, and Romeo in Southold) and met through food industry friends. “We were out one night after service and found that we had a lot of shared interests, like farming and raising pigs and chickens,” says Falcone. Romeo’s take: “Don’t sugarcoat it, we met late night at Claudio’s.” The rest is history.
For Falcone and Romeo, the North Fork has everything they could ever want. “There are four beautiful seasons, access to the ocean, the Sound and the bay, good fishing and beaches, great wineries and farms, and a ton of excellent restaurants and the community is so strong and supportive,” says Romeo. “As a kid, I always thought there must be a better place to live, but after moving up and down the East Coast when I was in college, I realized that there simply isn’t a better place than the North Fork.”
THESE ARE THEIR FAVORITE NORTH FORK THINGS AS TOLD TO GINA WAY:
FAVORITE NOFO BAGELS
Signature Bagels in the Riverhead Plaza Shopping Center has the best bagels with the best ‘chew’ in Long Island — and they put toppings on only one side of the bagel, just as you’re supposed to. We always order the egg everything bagels since we like a lot of flavor.
FAVORITE ICE CREAM
Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe is a roadside walk-up shop in Riverhead that’s been around for years. Kyle’s favorite flavor is peanut butter cup crunch, and I always order one scoop of black raspberry and one of lemon ice cream — not sorbet.
We love Paumanok Vineyards right around the corner from us in Aquebogue. It’s family-run and they make beautiful wines. It’s such a tranquil setting where you can sit on the deck and watch the sun set over their vines. We’ve served their chenin blanc and dry riesling at our restaurant, and they’re both excellent.
FAVORITE CRAFT BEERS & BREWERY
We’ve had the beer from Riverhead’s North Fork Brewing Co. on tap since we opened, and we sell through a keg of their Run the Juice IPA in two weeks. They are a farm brewery and grow a lot of their own seasonal beer ingredients. The vibe at the tasting room is awesome, and Kyle loves their English Brown Ale.
Turkuaz Grill is a delicious, family-run place that we go to frequently. They have outside seating right on the Peconic River, and we’ll often pop over for a gyro and an Efes Turkish beer. But you can also have a fancier indoor dining experience there with great wines and authentic Turkish food.
FAVORITE DATE NIGHTS
Little Creek Oysters in Greenport is such a chill, casual spot with delicious oysters and great beer. We always have the broiled oyster trio and the white fish dip — both are delicious. Another fave is Brix & Rye to get a cocktail and food from 1943 Pizza Bar. Our cocktail order: “The Backsliding Presbyterian.”
FAVORITE FISHING SPOT
You can catch a lot of porgies on the south side of Robins Island in Peconic Bay. From here, you can see Cow Neck Point, a big sand dune on the South Fork. On a nice day we’ll stop here after fishing, get off the boat and hang out on the beach. A perfect family day.
KYLE’S FAVORITE GOLF COURSE
On a summer day off, I’ll sometimes do an early morning golf outing with a bunch of restaurant friends. We head over to Island’s End Golf & Country Club, a really nice 18-hole course.
We plant most of the produce we use at the restaurant at Amanda’s family farm — everything from peppers and sugar snap peas to all kinds of lettuces. Her dad, Les, dedicates part of their 6-acre Cedar Grove Farm to Barrow House, but we also use local, family-run farms for specific ingredients. When corn is in season, we get ours from Schmitt’s Farm in Riverhead and Lewin Farms in Calverton has the best peaches on the North Fork by far.
The North Fork has so many amazing parks and natural preserves. In the fall, we head to Wildwood State Park overlooking the Sound to forage for mushrooms for our personal use, not for the restaurant. We also like to go to Indian Island County Park in Riverhead, which is on a peninsula so there’s water surrounding three sides. There’s a beautiful picnic spot on the beach, with hidden coves and tide pools nearby. It’s gorgeous, and just magical for kids to explore all year round.