Castaways Seafood & Steak Restaurant Planned For Old Village Way Spot in Port Jefferson

John Sarno, owner of The Village Idiot, Drift 82 and Chops Steakhouse, sets his sights on the North Shore village for his next endeavor called Castaways.

It’s been a long time since The Village Way waved bye bye to Port Jefferson. The iconic boat-shaped building on Main Street, along with the rest of Chandler Square that includes the ice cream window and the home of Port Jefferson Brewery, was recently acquired by Jim Tsunis’ The Northwind Group and last year one other potential tenant tried opening a restaurant in the spot, yet the old Village Way has remained stubbornly empty for eight years.

“Which is crazy,” commented Sarno on a call with

Sarno, a partner in a number of well-known Long Island restaurants, including The Village Idiot, Drift 82 and Chops Steakhouse, all found in Patchogue, is the next to try to give it a go. (Sarno also owns The Village Idiot locations in Oakdale and Lake Grove.)

Castaways Logo

The new spot has a name and a plan. He’s calling it Castaways, influenced by the seaside village and a song by one of his favorite bands, Zac Brown Band. The menu is surf and turf – a combination of the kitchens at two of his restaurants. His chefs are melding the two concepts of Drift 82 and Chops Steakhouse, taking portions of each for Castaways.

“My chefs are a huge reason for my success,” Sarno added. “You’re only as good as your staff.”

This will be his first foray on the North Shore but like many he grew up hanging out in the village.

“As a kid that’s where you went,” said Sarno, who grew up in Centereach.

Work on the interior will start soon. Sarno envisions the layout staying the same with the bar front and center seating up to 15 people, additional high top tables in the area and a huge 90-inch television behind it. The aft of the boat will seat small parties and the adjacent dining room will have about 70 seats. Outside seating will accommodate about 60 additional diners.

The interior is going to be nautical but bright with a cool, beachy, laid-back atmosphere with what Sarno called a “wow factor.” The fireplace will also stay.

Despite the vibe and the name, he insists that the dress code will not be tank tops and flip flops. It will be dress casual.

“Castaways will be a fine complement to what’s down there already,” he said.

If all goes as planned, they will open this fall, around October or November.

Sarno wants to contribute to the ongoing revitalization of Port Jefferson and thinks the time has come to resurrect the old Village Way building in Chandler Square. Expect something special.

“I love what I do,” he said. “And when I do anything I go all out.”

Location: 106 Main Street, Port Jefferson.

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