Isola on Shelter Island Steps Up Summer Game

After keeping its doors open through the winter, Isola on Shelter Island is ready to take its second summer season by storm. Inspired by the fresh abundance of East End ingredients, owner Brad Kitkowski sought to expand the food and drink offerings.

“We are very focused on the value we bring to the island,” said Kitkowski. “We want to continue to offer the very best food, wine and cocktails in a welcoming setting.”

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The seasonal Italian menu embodies the island way of life, focusing on local seafood and produce from places like Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor, Southold Fish Market and North Fork Smoked Fish Company. The expanded menu now includes daily seafood specials and new dishes such as the shrimp fra diavolo (spaghetti tossed in squid ink from Point Judith, topped with chopped white shrimp tails in a piquant white wine and san marzano tomato sauce) and the peeko oysters on the half shell (locally sourced from the Peconic Bay off Shelter Island). Not to mention, the arancini—fried risotto croquettes, pomodoro, parmigiano—is quickly becoming an island favorite.

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image: madison fender photography

Popular dishes like the burrata caprese salad with local tomatoes and the wood-fired, thin crust pizza aren’t going anywhere. Pair one of the pies—like the calabrese made with spicy salami, san marzano tomato, basil, mozzarella, garlic, white wine, parmigiano—with a glass of Provence rosè or one of the new wines from Bridge Lane and Croteaux that will be added in the coming weeks.

Beyond that, Kitkowski thought it fitting to offer wines from the Italian islands—Isola means island in Italian after all—and is in the process of adding blends from Sardinia and Sicily. The summer cocktail lineup is also fresh and playful. There are several options, but one of the early favorites is Isola’s version of the Summer Shandy (vodka, fresh lemon, lavender simple syrup and summer ale). Another fun addition: Isola will begin to offer lunch on weekends at the end of June.

And whether it’s for lunch or dinner, the spacious outdoor patio (which also got some updates!) is where diners want to be. Isola incorporated additional seating on the side porch allowing guests to sit closer to the musical entertainment in the lounge or to simply enjoy summertime outdoor dining—“one of the island’s greatest pleasures.”

Isola is located at 15 Grand Avenue in Shelter Island Heights.