The brothers who grew up cooking and helping run the venerable Country House in Stony Brook are continuing their parents’ legacy here on eastern Long Island.
The Wendelken family is in the midst of its first full year at North Tavern in downtown Wading River, where the restaurant Amarelle used to be.
Unlike the high-end Country House on North Country Road (the one that gets wrapped like a Christmas gift around the holidays) the new venture is casual.
The fare is best described as elevated comfort food.
“We’re not looking to do millions of dollars worth of business, we wanted to establish a good, fun, festive atmosphere for everybody. That’s what we built here and the response from the people in the area is they’re loving it,” said Brian Wendelken.
His late father, Thomas, established the Country House in 1978. Brian’s brother and fellow co-owner, Drew, runs the kitchen, as he did at the Country House before the family sold the Stony Brook business in 2006.
After selling, the brothers moved onto other ventures in New York, Arizona and California — before reuniting last year in Wading River.
“We have tons of experience,” Brian said. “We did the fine dining thing. We did the catering thing. And now we’ve got our family back together after many, many years.”
Brian’s wife, Denise, and Drew’s wife, Carol, are also co-owners in the new business, and diners could expect to find them and other Wendelkens to be at North Tavern upon every visit.
Instantly popular menu item, according to Brian, include the Nacho Mountain ($9) with Buffalo chicken.
Also, the Surf and Turf Carpaccio ($36), which is a tray of raw tuna and steak.
story continues below carpaccio photo
They’re also pushing plenty of Big Time College Wings ($11).
But above all, they’re pushing family friendly fun.
“We have a beautiful lounge,” Brian said. “The corn hole games and table tennis out back. We have a patio out front with a canopy for hanging out.
“It’s a new school and old school menu and a casual place with great food.”
The building at 2028 North Country Road, across from the Duck Ponds, sat empty for several years after Amarelle closed. Then it briefly housed a Mexican eatery.
The design at the new North Tavern is clean, elegant and modern, with the center fireplace from Amarelle still intact.
They’ve also been hosting plenty of private parties for the locals.
“We turned it around, fixed every single thing and it’s back to its original status,” said Brian. “There are so many different reasons for people to come here.”
Click here to follow North Tavern on Facebook. All photos are from Facebook.