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Vitality Bowls - Healthy Eating Opens In Smithtown

Vitality Bowls, which specializes in açaí bowls – a thick blend of the Amazon’s antioxidant-rich açaí berry, topped with a variety of superfoods – announced the opening of its café in Smithtown. The new franchise location will be the first in New York and the first for Marlene Durai, who plans to open two additional cafés on Long Island.  

“For fellow Long Islanders who are looking for healthy, great tasting food options, Vitality Bowls is going to be a major game-changer,” said Durai, who is also a certified Pilates instructor. “Vitality Bowls is unlike any other fast-casual eatery option in Smithtown. I can’t begin to describe the excitement I have to be pairing together my passions for wellness and business to open the first New York café.”

Slated to open on October 5, the new restaurant is located at 96 E. Main St. in Smithtown. The new restaurant will be the first Vitality Bowls location in New York, joining the 43 locations based nationwide.  Delivery and catering will also be available along with easy ordering using Vitality Bowl’s mobile app.

Originating in Northern California, Vitality Bowls has solidified itself as America’s superfood café – combining a dynamic, trendy café vibe with a unique collection of menu items containing high nutritional values and extraordinary tastes. Vitality Bowls offers an antioxidant-rich menu, with breakfast, lunch and dinner items made to order for each customer. All açaí bowls and smoothies do not contain ingredient fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar or artificial preservatives, giving the purest taste possible. 

The menu features a variety of options, such as the Energy Bowl (with organic açaí, goji berries and bee pollen), the Dragon Bowl (featuring organic pitaya, coconut milk and bananas) and their signature Vitality Bowl (with organic açaí, strawberries and honey). Additionally, the brand recently debuted Egg Panini made with organic, cage-free eggs and Superfood Waffles. Plus, fresh juices, soups, panini and salads are available in each café.

The eatery will also include a full-service organic coffee bar, complete with espresso and superfood drinks that are packed with antioxidant-rich açaí, pitaya and matcha – for example, the Açaí Latte (espresso, açaí, coconut sugar, steamed almond milk) or the Superfood Mocha (espresso, CaCoCo superfood chocolate blend, steamed milk). Organic kombucha in a variety of flavors will also be available on-tap.

“We created Vitality Bowls to be a place where health-conscious individuals can go for a nutritional meal,” said Tara Gilad, founder and owner of Vitality Bowls. “We believe that healthy, great tasting food can be an option for fast casual food and we are excited to have Marlene introduce the brand in New York. We look forward to seeing her grow her business on Long Island and sharing the Vitality Bowls message with the community.”

Since launching in 2011, the brand has ignited significant growth. In 2014, the concept began franchising and now has nearly 70 locations open and in development across the country. 



What's Cookin'? - Smithtown Up In Smoke BBQ

UP in Smoke BBQ – Deliciously Local BBQ

By Nancy Vallarella, What’s Cookin’? – Smithtown

Tom Lawlorjeff MyersBy day, Jeff Myers and Tom Lawlor are local businessmen servicing Smithtown’s automotive industry Monday through Friday, for the past three decades.  In the evening and on the weekends, the two turn Pit Bosses serving up the most hometown, lip smacking, finger licking good BBQ available in these here parts.

Up in Smoke BBQ was conceived in Myers’ Saint James backyard by two cousins tinkering around with a sauce for wings. “My cousin, Larry Teta was a chemist employed by Estee Lauder. He loved to experiment and mix ingredients together.  Our sauce recipe is Larry’s. With his early passing in 2014, there are only two people in this world who know the secret ingredient that makes the sauce like no other” Myers reveals. 

In 2006, Up in Smoke was founded and then incorporated in 2009. Up in Smoke BBQ Sauce was bottled and during this time Tom Lawlor jumped on board and began getting inquiries for catering private parties and promotional events at local auto dealerships. Myers and Lawlor turned a hobby of competing in BBQ competitions (People’s Choice Award winners) into a part-time business that now employees nineteen. 

“Word of mouth grew the business from our neighbor’s yards and tailgate parties to school picnics, block parties, graduations…We have catered every kind of outdoor event” commented Lawlor. Up in Smoke BBQ looks forward to the 3rd annual cookout event at Whisper Vineyards in Saint James. 

Myers and Lawlor have been giving business to other local businesses by purchasing their proteins from Mercep Brothers Meats and baked goods from Gargiulio’s Bakery both located in Saint James. Up in Smoke BBQ is there to help raise funds for the Smithtown Children’s Foundation annual tasting event, Community Table and Adam Harris’s, Fifty Bags of Chips.

Earlier this spring they took over the little red shack once occupied by Ocean’s Bounty Seafood and Saint James Claws on 25A in Saint James. An increase in orders with larger quantities made the facility at 415 North Country Road an ideal place to expedite catering orders. Myers reports, “We found large orders like feeding athletes and fans (Stony Brook vs. Yale Lacrosse) required more space. It is an ideal location for our business. This season, we will use the space to cook and meet customers by appointment for their BBQ catering needs. Next season we hope to have a retail business here with outdoor picnic tables.”

As you pass by, look for halos of smoke billowing over that little red shack pushed back off the roadside on 25A and take a deep breath of mouth-watering aromas. Up in Smoke BBQ does not fool around.  Some of their specialties include Whole Roasted BBQ Pig, Marinated London Broil, Smoked Ribs and Pulled Pork. They also accommodate those who prefer fish and veggies. Sides like Mac-n-Cheese with Bacon, slaw, salads, Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce, and desserts round out a menu that is sure to please everyone.

Give them a call 631-834-2246, 631-278-0728 or view their website at http://www.upinsmokebbqinc.com


What’s Cookin’? - Smithtown The Fresh Market Refresh

What’s Cookin’? -  Smithtown 

By Nancy Vallarella

The Fresh Market Refresh 

This past spring Fresh Market’s ownership shifted from its original owners to Apollo Global, a private equity firm based in New York.

Within the Fresh Market’s Smithtown location, changes began to better serve the needs of the local community. This past summer, the Little Big Meal was made available for seven consecutive days instead of just on Thursday. “The new management saw the increase in traffic on Thursdays and made the decision to make it available all week” states Jesse Arias, Meat Manager.  “We always make sure there is enough inventory to accommodate shoppers coming in late in the day or at the end the Little Big Meal week by providing substitutions when needed.”

Every Wednesday a new Little Big Meal deal is offered. It is a combination of ingredients to serve four for $20 requiring “little effort and big savings.” There are a variety of proteins to choose from, gluten-free and vegetarian options as well.  It is a major time saver.  All the items are located near the butcher area. The vegetables are prepped and ready to be dropped into a pan. No washing, peeling or chopping!

“The best part is…I don’t have to think.  It’s convenient, fresh and delicious!” raves Ann Mercedes, Smithtown resident and business owner.  “I shop here for everything from soup to nuts. Last year, I catered Thanksgiving dinner from Fresh Market which allowed me to mingle with extended family and not fuss in the kitchen. The food is great.” Smithtown Matters bumped into Ann sampling TFM spiral sliced honey ham, corn soufflé and 100% antibiotic free, vegetable fed whole turkey.  

This Saturday and Sunday, November 12th and 13th Fresh Market will repeat their Taste of the Holiday sampling event.  Visit the Smithtown location between 12 pm and 4 pm and sample items from Fresh Markets Holiday Catering Menu. Store Manager, Nasim Soorami is extending a $5.00 off Early Ordering Offer for Thanksgiving catering orders made during the event. 

Also on Saturday, take advantage of Fresh Market’s Surf and Turf Saturday. Through the month of November, $6.99/lb. Wild Alaska Cod and $9.99 Premium Choice Whole Beef Tenderloins.  Tuesday specials are $2.99 ground chuck and $2.99 boneless chicken breasts that are antibiotic free and fed a 100% vegetarian diet. 

If you haven’t been to the Smithtown Fresh Market recently, it is worth revisiting.  There is a noticeable and delicious effort to have you come back again and again. Fresh Market is located at 138 E. Main St., Smithtown



What's Cookin'? Smithtown - NYS Says YES To Sunday Morning Cocktails

What’s Cookin’? – Smithtown

By Nancy Vallarella

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere! - Even on Sunday Morning in New York

Bipartisan verbal back patting was the forefront of activity upon Governor Cuomo’s signing of legislation that will “modernize New York’s archaic 80-year-old Alcoholic Beverage Control Law” on September 7, 2016.

Senator Andrew Lanza said, “This law will modernize state alcohol laws that in many cases date back to Prohibition while cutting red tape, lowering costs, and rolling back burdensome regulations. I thank Governor Cuomo and Majority Leader Flanagan for their efforts in making this important legislation law.” 

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Small businesses and consumers throughout the state will greatly benefit from this reform of the state’s outdated blue laws that will expand Sunday brunch options and promote the continued success of New York’s service and beverage industries. I thank Senator Lanza for his efforts to get this legislation passed, and Governor Cuomo and our colleagues in the Assembly for working with us to help cut red tape and burdensome regulations so that more businesses can grow and thrive.”

Part Blue Law overhaul. Part industry support. This legislation does not hit home here in Smithtown. It falls flat but local business owners are pleased with other aspects of Governor Cuomo’s promotion of the craft beverage industry. 

The sale of alcoholic beverages at on-premises establishments on Sunday is now allowed starting 10:00 a.m. In addition, the state will make available twelve permits a year that will allow for service of alcohol on Sunday between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 am. 

With over fifty years of continuous business in Smithtown, Old Street Restaurant & Bar will not change their Sunday opening hours. They will continue to open at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays and every day. “We really don’t have a demand for alcohol before noon. I think that the law change is way overdue, and most bars and restaurants weren’t abiding by the law,” states Owner, Laura Lombardi.

Provisions to broaden retail sales by producers, and reduce burdensome fees and  regulations for wineries, distilleries, breweries and cideries across the state do not benefit local vineyards; Whisper Vineyards in Saint James or Harmony Vineyards in Head of the Harbor, St. James. Both do not plan to sell wine in growlers or change their policy regarding take-a-way partial bottles. They will not increase their business hours and will not see a reduction in licensing fees. 

Six weeks ago, Harmony Vineyards in Head of the Harbor began brunch service on Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m. The passing of the new ABC laws was never a consideration. Owner David Acker and his wife had an “aha moment” while brunching in Manhattan. 

The inspiration for increased operating hours is Harmony’s spectacular waterfront vista paired with a brunch menu by Filomena Lombardi of Farm to Table Catering by Filomena located in Nesconset.  Parallel philosophies on work ethic and a commitment to quality make this organic partnership excel.  Harmony Vineyard’s brunch service has seen “linear growth” over past the six weeks. Plan on the service to continue through the upcoming seasons as they offer indoor and outdoor seating.  Harmony Vineyards does not plan on applying for the permit to serve liquor before 10:00 a.m. 

Harmony’s Owner, David Acker, credits Governor Cuomo’s efforts as having elevated the perception of the quality of New York wines. The Taste of New York program and poster campaign on the LIRR have contributed to this awareness. 

For the more information on the new Alcohol Beverage Control Laws visit: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-legislation-modernize-new-yorks-alcoholic-beverage-control-law


What's Cookin? Smithtown New Restaurant Casa Mia

What’s Cookin’? -  Smithtown 

By Nancy Vallarella

New Restaurant Casa Mia es Su Casa

Casa Mia is an oasis on the shore of Rt. 347.  It is a go-to destination for fans of Mediterranean cuisine and a respite for those caught in a sea of rush hour traffic.  Mother and daughter restaurateurs Michelle Thornton and Alexandra Plevritis, bring Greek and Italian heritage and over 40 years of their family’s hospitality history to the table.  The menu is filled with fresh fish, grilled meats, a rainbow of vegetables, legumes, herbs, microgreens and plenty of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). 

Salads range from the familiar Caesar ($12) to the exotic Warm Octopus Salad ($18). Notable starters include Braised Kobe Meatballs with ricotta cheese and crostini ($12), Grilled Lamb Sausage with cucumber-dill yogurt and flat bread ($14) and Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with warm vegetable capanata and piquillo pepper aioli ($16).

Grilled, roasted and sautéed fish entrees of whole Red Snapper*, whole Bronzino*, Scottish Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass are accompanied by Mediterranean delights; roasted lemon herb potatoes, Dalmatia fig sauce, olive tapenade saffron & roasted cauliflower risotto. Seafood Bolognese and Truffled Shrimp Scialatielli complete Casa Mia’s fish entrees which range from $29 – $34. *Market Price. 

You can find Grilled Colorado “Porter House” Lamb Chops and Sautéed Osso Buco Pork Shank on Casa Mia’s everyday menu along with pasta, organic chicken and a 10oz. filet mignon dish. ($21 -$41)  The majority of Casa Mia’s sides are heart healthy; grilled asparagus, sautéed baby spinach, Sautéed “Zen Blend” (Baby Kale & Spinach, Roasted Garlic, EVOO), and roasted lemon potato ($8 – $9). More indulgent options are Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Prosciutto ($8) and Truffle Mac n Cheese ($10). 

The wine list includes local, domestic and imported vintages that pair well with dinner entrees and are especially well suited with Casa Mia’s Charcuterie Board of assorted cheeses, cured meats, pickled vegetables, nuts, fig jam and artisan bread ($19). 

Since opening this past June, Michelle and Alexandria have put together several offerings to tempt new customers to come in and have a seat.

Casa Mia’s answer to rush hour traffic - Happy Hour Specials! Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm to 7 pm. Half price bar bite menu and discounted prices on all cocktails (specialty handcrafted and rack), draft and bottled beer.  Specialty handcrafted cocktails vary and are made with fresh fruits and herbs.  

A three course pre-fix menu is offered Sunday and Tuesday for $24.95 and menu items change week to week.

Sunday Brunch serves up an array of organic and cage free egg dishes ($13 - $16) prepared several ways from traditional favorites like Eggs Benedict Florentine to in-house creations like Mia Frittata – tomato, potato, asparagus tips, mozzarella, avocado and roasted pepper.  On the sweet side, French toast is offered three ways, Almond Berry Crunch, Chocolate Banana and Peanut Butter Bacon ($16). Savory dishes include a Crab Quiche & Salad ($15), Cali Wrap ($14) and a 10oz. Burger with Gruyere cheese, bacon on a Brioche bun with house fries ($15) Truffle Parmesan Fries are available for an additional $4. 

The atmosphere is warm and friendly. The main dining area with skylight seats 45 guests and an additional dining area off the bar area seats 25 guests. Hidden behind the building is an open outdoor patio that accommodates 30 with a bar. 

Overall, Casa Mia is a worthy addition to the Town of Smithtown’s dining scene offering a seasonal Mediterranean menu, handcrafted seasonal cocktails, brunch and outdoor dining that is hard to find.   Casa Mia is located at 321 Smithtown Bypass (Rt. 347), just east of Townline Road in Hauppauge. Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and Sunday for Brunch 11am – 3pm.  casamiali.com