Owner of Forthcoming Restaurant Elaine’s Dishes About Her New Venture Going Into Tai Show North Spot in Setauket

Elaine Micali is back. After presiding over one of the most beloved local spots for years as manager at Pentimento Restaurant in Stony Brook, the restaurateur who says “food is in her blood” has signed a lease at 316 Main Street in Setauket. She officially takes over the space in September.

Micali’s restaurant will be called Elaine’s Restaurant and Bar and will be taking over the building where Tai Show North is located currently. The long-standing Japanese restaurant will be closing at the end of the summer.

She just couldn’t stay away

“My husband and I both grew up in big Italian families and food was a big part of our lives,” she told LongIslandRestaurants.com in a phone interview. “I started working in hospitality at age 14 and it kind of stays in your blood.”

Micali along with her husband Enzo (the two are business partners in the new venture) are currently working out the plans, submitting for permits and finalizing their designs. They hope to open by the end of 2023 or early in 2024.

A part of the community for decades, through her education business – she owned Da Vinci Education learning center in Stony Brook and worked in schools in the surrounding districts – Micali is ingrained in the community and the people here are important to her. That’s why with her new restaurant, she wants to recapture the feel of what the area lost when Pentimento Restaurant went out of business, a place to gather with friends and family, meet for dinner and drinks and make memories.

“Pentimento was very different,” she described. “It had its own little culture. On my day off we were there. We loved it for so many reasons. It was our local little Cheers.”

This new venture seems almost inevitable. Everywhere she went people would ask her when she was going to open a restaurant.

“We had no choice,” she joked.

The perfect spot

Micali says she and her husband had searched for two years for the perfect spot and had one requirement.

“We wanted it to be in Three Village,” she said.

They looked at a number of places in the area that didn’t fit their needs and then the Thai Show North building showed up.

The location not only fits her basic requirement to be in the Three Village area but it’s also poised to bring in the crowds from other neighborhoods.

“We loved the spot because it will draw from Port Jefferson, Miller Place and Mount Sinai as well as the locals,” she said. “And maybe a ferry crowd from Connecticut.”

The dining room and bar area are around 2,000 square feet.

The atmosphere

The plan is for an upscale but casual destination for the community to gather.

“We want to recreate that vibe that the community is really missing,” she said.

Without divulging too much, Micali gave us an outline of her plans. The restaurant will have seating for 100 people with a large bar area that will be great for gathering. She also hopes to use the existing patio to have additional outdoor dining. The bar will have a relaxed vibe but the dining room will be a little more upscale but still casual, according to Micali. There will also be a small section of the dining room that can be used for private parties. She envisions bridal showers and other types of similar events there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Micali is working with a local designer and architect to bring her vision to life.

“From lighting to music to color to use of the space we want to do it right,” she said.

The menu

Things are still cooking in the kitchen so Micali could not reveal too much. She is keeping the menu close to the vest saying only that it will be regional Italian with American pub fare in the bar area.

“We have two chefs in mind,” was all she said about who would run the kitchen.

Taking time to do it right

Since the news went out and her website went up she has been overwhelmed with responses. And she is grateful.

“We’ve had a tremendous positive community response,” she said.

No matter which direction she goes in with the layout, the food and her hiring process, Micali believes that it’s all a balancing act.

“Decor, food and staffing are all equally as important,” she said.

It will probably take around six months before they open. They are planning a complete renovation of the space and Micali said to stay tuned.

“There’s more to come,” she said.

Photo: Elaine Micali and husband Enzo. Business partners in new restaurant in Setauket called Elaine’s. Courtesy of Elaine Micali.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *