Where to Eat and Drink on the North Fork
Photo By: Stephen Grande Jr. ©Grande Jr., Inc.
Photo By: Randee Daddona ©Randee Daddona
Welcome to the North Fork
While New Yorkers and other travelers often head to popular Hamptons destinations on the South Fork of Long Island, oenophiles and those in the know head north at the end of Highway 495 and are greeted with fields of vineyards, endless farmland and some pretty great wines. (Image: Bedell Cellars)
Where to Stay
If wine is your thing, look no further than Shinn Estate Vineyards (2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck, NY, 11952) where you can stay on the vineyard itself in their Farmhouse (four rooms available at $259 per night). Vineyard views plus luxury appointments like Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs mean you can take in the beauty around you without sacrificing modern amenities. If you’d prefer a water view to the vines, check our HarborFront Inn at Greenport (209 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944) where most rooms (35 rooms starting at $309 per night) overlook the water and there’s even an outdoor heated pool. It’s situated right in downtown Greenport so you can easily stroll home from an evening out. For a romantic getaway that has the feel of a bed-and-breakfast, Jedediah Hawkins Inn (400 South Jamesport Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901) offers traditional rooms with fireplaces, garden views and a leisurely breakfast included (six rooms, starting at $275 per night). The house itself was built in 1863 and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Plus, guests receive vouchers for complimentary wine tastings at 14 partner vineyards nearby.
Where to Eat Dinner
From Tasmanian Red Crab Tacos to Satur Farm Kale Caesar salad, Noah’s (136 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944) has something for everyone, and it’s a great place to congregate with friends and share a few small plates. Chef Noah Schwartz is a Long Island native, and his restaurant is known for featuring local ingredients and fresh seafood. The wine list is curated by the chef's wife, Sunita Schwartz, and features one of the largest selections of local wines in the area. The three-course dinner at The North Fork Table and Inn (57225 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971) might seem a little steep at $75 per person, but once you are seated in the beautiful dining room and have your first few bites of seasonally inspired dishes like seared dayboat Long Island sea scallops with peas or seared Hudson valley foie gras, you’ll happily settle in for your meal. If you can’t make an evening meal, the restaurant also takes to the streets — or, rather, the parking lot — in the summer with a lunchtime food truck, featuring the more local fare, right outside the main building.
Where to Eat Lunch or Brunch
Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. at Love Lane Kitchen (240 Love Lane, Mattituck, NY 11952) in Mattituck, so you can sleep late but still get your buttermilk pancakes, huevos rancheros or a breakfast bowl. The bright and airy casual spot also serves a killer lobster roll and equally delicious gourmet sandwiches for meat lovers. No time to stop and sit between wine tastings? Head to The Village Cheese Shop (105 Love Lane, Mattituck, NY 11952) down the street from Love Lane Kitchen and put together a portable basket of local cheese, bread and olives to get you through to the next vineyard. They encourage visitors to taste-test as they explore the store, so feel free to speak up and discover something new. A stop at the Southold Fish Market (64755 New York State Route 25, Southold, NY 11971) means you can pick out more than just fish to cook at home. The shop also makes their own specials daily, and you can find fried blackfish sandwiches, grilled shrimp Reubens and even a glazed tuna steak for under $20. Image courtesy David Benthal.
Snacks and Provisions
Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market (37 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944) isn’t open very often (Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12 to 9), but if you happen to be visiting the area when it is, you’ll encounter the freshest oysters around. You can order shuck-it-yourself buckets, oysters on the half shell and even flights that are paired with beer or bubbles. Eco-friendly folks will love this farm in particular — Little Creek is working toward keeping the Peconic Estuary, where the oysters grow, a healthy environment for future generations of shellfish. If sweets are more your thing, check out The Blue Duck Bakery Café (130 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944), which bakes fresh bread daily along with cookies, pies, cheesecakes and more. Be sure to check out the sourdough, which is Blue Duck's specialty. Need a pick-me-up after all of that vino? Stop by The Roastery (55795 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971) in Southold, a small-batch artisanal coffee roaster. The space features an 800-pound roaster, which is worth seeing in itself.
Not Wine: Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
Peconic Location: 42155 Main Road, Peconic, NY 11958; Greenport Location: 234 Carpenter Street, Greenport, NY 11944
If you’ve entered wine overload and grapes just aren’t cutting it, head to Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Visit the original location in Greenport for a tasting of what’s on draft, or head to their new Peconic outpost for a full tour of the operation. They’re sure to have Harbor Ale, Black Duck Porter and more for sipping. On weekends, the Greenport brewery plays host to a rotating cast of food trucks, and in the evenings it features live music.
36225 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY 11935
One of the flagship vineyards of the North Fork, Bedell has a tasting room that not only is picturesque and inviting, but also features beautiful outdoor space for sipping a tasting or attending one of their many special-event dinners. The tasting-menu options include the estate flight ($15) and the premium flight ($20) and feature everything from sparkling rosé to Malbec and even Viognier. The vineyard itself is certified sustainable and composts grape seeds, skins and vine casings as fertilizer for next year's crops. Past visitors include President Obama and the first lady — in fact, a Bedell wine was featured at the 2013 inaugural dinner.
Lieb Cellars Tasting Room and Bridge Lane
Lieb Cellars Tasting Room: 13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue, NY 11935; Bridge Lane Tasting Room: 35 Cox Neck Road, Mattituck, NY 11952
Lieb Cellars Tasting Room sits among 84 acres of vines and consists of an indoor rustic-chic tasting bar, a private library room and a furnished front deck where you can taste their elegant red, white and sparkling wines. The cellar offers four different flights, ranging in price from $12 to $20. For a more casual wine tasting environment, Bridge Lane, produced by Lieb Cellars, showcases young, fresh, fruit-forward wines that are meant to be enjoyed right away. In a modern and youthful environment, you can taste eight different wines for $12, along with local food trucks’ provisions. The grapes themselves are grown at one of Lieb's four vineyards, which total 85 acres. If you're feeling a different fruit, Lieb Cellars also produces Rumor Mill Hard Cider, made from locally grown apples.
One Woman Wines
5195 Old North Road, Southold, NY 11971
It doesn’t get more adorable than the tiny tasting room at this vineyard run by Claudia Purita, where much of the vineyard was hand-planted and each vine has been meticulously tended to by Claudia’s exacting touch. Wines to taste include Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, and the first and only Grüner Veltliner grown and produced on Long Island. Purita was raised on a farm in Calabria, Italy, and has had experience working with wine grapes her entire life — this vineyard is literally her returning "to her roots." During the summer, the vineyard hosts a free weekly Tasting Under the Stars event, where guests can come to the vineyard and enjoy an outdoor film, bonfire and telescope viewings (no outside alcohol permitted).
39750 County Road 48, Southold, NY 11971
This new tasting room and facility was completed in the summer of 2010 and is dedicated to the exclusive production of méthode champenoise sparkling wines. The wines are sustainably grown on three vineyard sites comprising 40 acres within the North Fork of Long Island American Viticultural Area. You can sit, relax and enjoy table service inside the elegant Tasting House or the VIP Bubble Lounge, or outside on the Terrace and great lawn overlooking exquisite views of the vineyard. A variety of tasting packages are available for groups up to 24, starting at $12 per person for the bottle service package. If you're looking for a more active interaction with the wine, take the Unraveling Méthode Champenoise Experience tour, where you explore the vineyard, Crush Pad, Tank Room and Cellar, and learn about process secrets ($50 per person).
The Old Field
59600 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971
On the east end of Southold village, "The Old Field" was referenced in Southold records as early as 1660. Now the owners of the 100-year-old family farm are proud of their vineyard that’s hand-harvested and pruned to keep the tractor out of the vineyards. They also use organic sprays whenever possible. On the weekends in the summer, you can taste wines by the bay at the end of the property with the winemaker-owner (reservations required). Try the 2012 Blush de Noir, with an adorable puppy label; $1 will be donated to Kent Animal Shelter for each bottle sold. The vineyard itself served as the backdrop for the 2010 romantic dramedy The Romantics, starring Katie Holmes and Anna Paquin. Private tastings are $12 per person and include a tasting of four still wines. Opt for a tour (choose from historical or sustainability-focused) at $20 per person, which includes a tasting of five still wines.