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Pookaberry Cafe is a colorful Filipino restaurant in Mattituck. (Photo credit: Lee Meyer)

Cryptic Instagram posts about boodle fights. Wild, colorful art on the door and windows. Multiple Northforker stories.

For the past several years, the in-development Pookaberry Cafe (140 Pike St., Mattituck) has been tantalizing locals with its alluring, if mysterious, vibe. Now, after a soft opening, Pookaberry Cafe is ready for the big time, with a grand opening this Easter Sunday, March 31.

“We’re very excited,” says owner and chef Jeanette Marco, who hails from the Philippines. Jeanette and her artist husband, Peter Marco, have created an artsy, funky space to house their unique menu of Filipino cuisine. While you won’t find Filipino food elsewhere on the North Fork, you won’t find a space like Pookaberry Cafe anywhere else, either — reclaimed wood adorns the walls and space, with a massive burst of colorful pop art on the ceiling. The talented team of the artsy, spirited Peter and the knowledgeable culinarian Jeanette make this one of the most exciting new additions to the North Fork in a long while.  

“The menu is [focused on] Filipino food,” Jeanette explains. “I tried to integrate some American favorites, Italian favorites and Mexican favorites. I felt the market was ready for Filipino food.”

But even the more traditional menu items have a twist. The fish and chips, for example, use Japanese Yuzu instead of lemon, while the fries are blended with sour cream.

Fish and chips at Pookaberry Cafe. (Photo credit: Lee Meyer)

Other menu items include the wagyu burger, rice and egg bowls with a choice of meat, and Filipino entrees like lechon kawali (deep-fried pork belly cubes) and chicken inasal (grilled chicken with lemongrass and other seasoning). Jeanette is particularly excited about the halo halo, a shaved coconut ice treat. 

“This is a place that could be your second home if you don’t want to cook,” says Jeanette. “I want to make sure the food we serve isn’t too commercial. You don’t have that molecular gastronomy [feel]. I like to serve food that will make people full, get the best value for their buck and feel the home-cooked food. It’s nice to eat in a restaurant, but it’s nice to have home-cooked food by your grandmother!”

Jeanette and Peter are also sourcing ingredients locally when possible, including from Mattituck Mushrooms and Peconic Gold Oysters. The wine list includes choices from Jamesport Vineyards.

“We try to support the local businesses,” Peter says, noting he’s made many friends and forged relationships over the two-and-a-half years he’s been renovating the space. 

Peter Marco kept the sign that sat in Pookaberry’s window since 2021. (Photo credit: Lee Meyer)

Peter, who designed the entire restaurant from the ground up, thinks guests will be surprised by the Pookaberry experience.

“People love the decor,” he says. “The place is kind of funky looking, and so people are surprised the food is good, too! We try to have really great customer service, really generous portions, reasonable prices and top-quality food.”

Jeanette Marco prepares a dish at Pookaberry Cafe. (Photo credit: Lee Meyer)

Pookaberry’s Easter grand opening, starting at 11 a.m., will include an Easter egg hunt for the whole family, painting, live music and the full menu available.

But wait! What’s a boodle fight? 

“A boodle fight is a traditional food feast for our soldiers in the Philippines,” Jeanette explains. A boodle fight, available to order for four to 12 people, is a spread of rice, noodles, grilled food, seafood, veggies and even dessert over banana leaves that you eat with your hands. It’s completely wild and different, which fits in with the Pookaberry aesthetic.

“There’s nothing like it on the North Fork,” says Jeanette. “I’m 100% sure of that!”