Long Island Pour House Owner Anthony Pallino was never one to settle for normal. He had a desk job once—it wasn’t his thing.
“I have worked for people my whole life and I’ve always wanted my own, but it had to be something different from the place next door,” said Pallino.
After 15 years of working everywhere from Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza to Applebee’s, Pallino decided to forge his own way in the food and beverage industry by opening LI Pour House in Port Jefferson Station. In true Pallino fashion, it couldn’t be some typical watering hole with brews and bar fare. LI Pour House became the first spot on Long Island to allow visitors to be their own bartender. The IPourIt system is like a grown-up soda dispenser, allowing customers to choose from 20 craft beers, pull the tap and help themselves to beer. Pallino discussed the inspiration behind this system and his favorite parts of the business thus far.
What inspired the creation of a self-serve craft beer system?
I did everything in the restaurant business and knew I had to do something unique if I wanted to succeed. The idea kind of came from frozen yogurt places, where you get to make your own sundae. I remember bartending or being at a busy bar where people that wanted to try different beers got pushed to the back of the line. Customers never have to worry about a waiter or bartender with our beer wall. They can just go over to the wall and choose what flavor they want.
What if you don’t want to pour your own beer?
I know the beer wall is not for everyone. Not everybody wants to get up to pour their own beers, and they don’t have to. They can ask the server, bartender or even me to go pour them their beer.
Tell me about the different varieties of beer on tap. Does the selection ever change?
Everything from apple cider, Bourbon Stouts and Porters to Belgium wheats, ales and lagers. You name the beer or brand, we’ve had it. It constantly changes. Once each beer runs out, we replace it with a new kind of beer. You can try something completely different each time you come. It’s a surprise.
What is your personal favorite beer and why should we try it?
I’m an easy guy, I don’t go crazy. I just drink Stella beer to be honest with you. But on the beer wall, I love Founders Dirty Bastard, which is a scotch beer. It’s phenomenal. It is one of those beers that is eight percent alcohol but goes down so great. It has such a unique taste to it.
What are your favorite beer and food pairings and why?
The Smoked Kielbasa with something darker like a Pipeline Porter. They go hand-in-hand. Every time I eat a piece and take a sip of the beer it’s just spot on.
What has been your favorite part about working here?
The people that I get to hire and work with every day actually make this happen. Whether it be a server, bartender or cook, they are the ones that people come back for on a daily basis. I get to create my own family, whereas you work at a lot of places and you’re given the family. We’re trying to create a staple in the community and help in any way that we can. We have a lot of fundraisers. In December, we donated a portion of our proceeds to a hospital. When I’m 80 or 90 years old, I will remember this time as a great time in my life, no matter how it goes, because of the relationships I got to make.