7 Restaurants Hidden in Strip Malls

’Tis the season to shop and hang out with your in-laws ’till you drop. But when “stop time” is 5pm and “drop time” comes on at 11am, it’s time to refuel. Seven Long Island restaurants in strip malls offer hangry shoppers the chance to eat, drink and be on their merry ways on the quick.

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West End Cafe, Carle Place

This bistro, located in the Clocktower Shopping Center, looks more North Fork quaint meets Nassau ballroom than strip mall. There are white table cloths, wooden accents and large light fixtures. The portions are as generous as a certain jolly old elf (warning: diners who clean their plates often leave feeling like him). Comfort food is the name of the game at West End Cafe. The chicken parm is made with warm, fresh tomato and fragrant basil—it smells like an Italian grandmother’s kitchen on a plate. A twilight menu is available all night on Sundays and Mondays, making it a perfect stop for procrastinators. Phone: 516-294-5608 | Address: 187 Glen Cove Rd. Click to eat

Pita House, East Setauket

It’s all about the food at this no-fuss eatery serving up Mediterranean and Turkish fare. This spot, hidden behind Wild Nature in the Three Village Shopping Center, is worth seeking out if only for the tender lamb. The spinach pie is fresh, doughy and sprinkled with feta cheese and the turkey orzo soup is made with real bird. Ambiance-wise, the dining area is light and airy. Though there are white tablecloths, guests in jeans don’t look out of place. South Shore residents can dine at the new location on Rt. 112 in Medford. Phone: 631-289-2262 | Address: 100-27 South Jersey Ave. (Behind Wild Nature) Click to eat

Thai Angel, Islandia

Escape to Southeast Asia in the Islandia Shopping Center. This eatery offers curry and spice and everything nice in a dining room full of serene Thailand-inspired statues and artwork. Diners in a hurry don’t have to sacrifice indulgence—Thai Angel offers a duck on the run menu. The orange duck is known to be crispy and flavorful and the Thai Angel Duck takes tastebuds on a spicy, sweet and sour rollercoaster. For a fresh twist on a favorite, opt for a side of pineapple fried rice. Made with pineapple, raisins and cashed nuts, it makes a meal at Thai Angel a bit sweeter. Phone: 631-348-2555 | Address: 1812 Veterans Hwy. Click to eat

Emilio’s, Commack

An approachable menu of Italian classics and quick service make this restaurant a favorite for family dinners. The portions are so big a dish could arguably feed a family of four but when the food is this good, sharing is not caring. Those who moved off-Island should try the Mama Mia Meatballs—they’re doused in the Sunday sauce you’ve been waiting for. The famous Margherita pizza is made with handcrafted dough, hand-pulled homemade mozzarella and plum tomatoes. It’s warm, fresh, gooey and stands out on a menu of standouts. Phone: 631-462-6267 | Address: 2201 Jericho Turnpike Click to eat

Fortune Wheel Seafood Restaurant, Levittown

Chinese food heaven where you’d least expect it. This unassuming restaurant in the Nassau Mall offers yummy dim sum in a casual environment. The bite-sized novelties are chewy without being tough and the prices aren’t known to break the bank. Phone: 516-579-4700 | Address: 3601 Hempstead Turnpike Click to eat

Kabul, Huntington

There’s no shortage of food options in Huntington, but this mainstay offers something off the surf ’n turf and burger beaten paths. The Afghani menu includes a beef kebob made with a tender filet mignon slathered in a special marinade. Diners can top rice with carrots and raisins for an authentically sweet side. The space is adorned with Middle Eastern decor like tapestries and hanging wooden light fixtures. Phone: 631-549-5506 | Address: 1153 E. Jericho Turnpike Click to eat

BBDs, Rocky Point

Beers. Burgers. Desserts. It’s the three items everyone needs after a visit with pesky relatives and this casual Rocky Point joint has some of the best. There are nearly 30 brews on tap but for something a little stronger, try one of the adult milkshakes. The Chef’s Shake has notes of buttermilk ice cream, Jack Daniels Honey, cinnamon sugar and pound cake. As for the food, unique burger toppings include fast food pickles and candied grilled bacon. Make room for dessert even if you don’t have it—the wood fired s’mores stick to the ribs in all the right ways. Phone: 631-849-1620 | Address: 49 Route 25A Click to eat

beth ann clyde

beth ann clyde

Beth Ann Clyde is a social strategist of Long Island Pulse. Have a story idea or just want to say hello? Email bethann@lipulse.com or reach out on Twitter @BAClyde.