The retail space next to in Stony Brook Village Center seemed to change hands every few years: most recently it was Blush Lingerie, and in the past it was a photography studio, a fly fishing shop, a shoe store, an apothecary.
Now, it has become part of the restaurant itself. On Sunday, following its six-week renovation, Pentimento unveiled its new-look restaurant, bar, and outdoor dining area in a grand re-opening celebration.
"It's just beautiful," said patron Susan Berger, who dines at Pentimento with husband Dan typically on Thursday nights. "It's very exciting to see how creative they got in using the space."
Pentimento, which was opened in 1994 by chef Dennis Young in the space formerly occupied by Franzi and Nells, closed the day after Mother's Day earlier this year to begin renovations. A little more than two weeks later, it re-opened to serve some private parties and catered affairs it had scheduled. Then it closed again for more than three weeks to finish the changes.
The closure fell during what is normally the slowest time of year for restaurants, but it still presented some financial challenges, manager Lisa Cusumano said. "It was a very big deal to not have revenue coming in, and we also had people in the community that weren’t very happy," she said. "But I think it will all be well worth it."
Cusumano said the restaurant gained the capacity to seat about 50 more guests. But, she said, "It’s not about how many more we can seat, it’s about what we can do and how the restaurant can be utilized."
What was formerly the main dining room is now a space that can be enclosed as a private party room. Outdoor tables are encircled by new landscaping. The bar has been relocated – and vastly expanded – to the space which formerly housed the store next door, with bench seating added in the new space between. A nook next to the bar serves as a quiet lounge; a new late night bar menu and tap beer selection was also added. Plans are in the works to add wine and craft beer dinner events as well.
"We basically did this to meet the needs of the community," Cusumano said. "Our regulars that helped us build this place, we wanted to offer them what they needed. ... If it wasn’t for the community, we could have never done this. This is what it’s about."
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