Bay Shore’s dining scene is in for a real taste of the South when Fatwood Southern Kitchen opens next year. This new restaurant is all about bringing family and friends together for a night of unique twists on comfort food favorites like ribs and brisket, chicken fried steak and sweet tea. But don’t expect a menu of BBQ-sauce slathered fare.
“We’re calling it Fatwood Southern Kitchen because we don’t want it to be just about barbecue,” said owner Drew Dvorkin. “Barbecue is important, but it’s not the only thing people eat in the south…We want to bring in many of those influences.”
But there will be plenty of barbecue when this restaurant opens in January.
“I’m fascinated by barbecue culture and what it means to people. It’s like religion down [South] and that’s what I like about,” said Dvorkin, who partnered with businessmen Greg Mogil and Peter Petrakis and chef Marc Bynum (Hush American Bistro) to open the restaurant. “It’s something that’s common among everyone. There are people from all different backgrounds and paths in life, and different social and economic statuses, but they’re all united by barbecue. It’s in their culture.”
Southern dishes typically come in larger portions, but Fatwood Southern Kitchen is poised to cater to a market hungry for tasting menus and the ability to mix and match dishes. Instead of ordering one large platter of chicken fried steak covered in gravy, diners will be able to order it “on-a-stick” with a side of sausage gravy. It’s more user-friendly and gives the diner the ability to make it a full meal or one part of it.
“We’ll have amazing ribs, brisket and pulled pork because you can’t do barbecue without paying homage to all of the staples,” said Dvorkin. “But, Marc is going to be paying close attention to the sides too. We’ll have mac and cheese, but we want to go beyond that.”
The mixology program will be led by general manager Heather Cheetham. There will be innovative twists on adult versions of southern beverages likes teas, punches and lemonades. It will also celebrate a love for beer. Patrons can also expect a bar menu full of “little accompaniments” like deviled eggs and smoked peanuts.
The inside of the building is currently gutted down to the studs, but the 2,800-square-foot space will eventually seat 100 people comfortably. Drawings revealed some very special elements including a beautiful outdoor dining area on the east side of the property as well as garage doors leading into the restaurant.
Exposed rafters and high beams will add dimension and warmth to the space whereas white subway tile will keep it looking modern and fresh. Diners will also be able to see and smell the 2,400-pound southern fried smokers cooking in the open kitchen.
“When people walk in to the restaurant, they’ll feel and smell the fire. It’ll be like a warm hug greeting you at the door,” said Dvorkin.