The Bench Bar and Grill is officially under new ownership and Marios Patatinis, owner of Sweet Mama’s in Stony Brook and Northport, as well as Grandpa’s Shed, is transforming the Stony Brook restaurant into a “new era of an American pub.” 

The Bench is known for being a college bar in the area, and Patatinis said under his new ownership, he would like to provide a restaurant option that welcomes veterans, police, and the rest of the community.

“It’s a bad stigma,” he said. “You just want to have another nice option for a neighborhood restaurant.” 

Customers can expect an “Old Americana” bistro-feel with the new restaurant, Patatinis said. This includes menu items like high-end steaks, beer-battered fish and chips, a variety of appetizers, and more. 

The restaurant will also offer a vegan and vegetarian section of the menu for all the “green-goers” who visit. 

Patatinis said the interior of the restaurant is currently under full renovation and remodeling.

He and his team are in the process of rebranding the restaurant, so the name is still being worked out.

“We want the house to be a showcase — a clubhouse-feel — to our local veterans and people who have served,” he said. 

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the current exterior of The Bench in Stony Brook

He said when he found out The Bench was up for sale, he wanted to jump on the opportunity, talk with the owners, and see what could be worked out. 

To him, the location played a significant factor in his decision to take it over. 

“I live in the area, so I knew that the location could be a gem where it is and the history that it brings to town,” Patatinis said. 

The restaurant is still operating as The Bench while under renovation on the inside. They have been serving takeout during the state-wide closure.

As of June 10, New York’s reopening plan entered Phase Two, which means many Long Island restaurants, including The Bench, are now able to offer outdoor dining at a limited capacity. 

Patatinis said this has allowed the operation of the restaurant and construction of the interior to happen simultaneously.

“You won’t recognize it,” he said. “As dining is only allowed on the patio and parking lots, it allows us to maneuver accordingly.” 

Patatinis said if all goes well with the reopening process, they are aiming to open at the end of August. 

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted Patatinis’ whole restaurant branch. He said the agenda is to keep the revenue coming in and keep his staff employed.

“If they’re happy, then once this whole mess is over we’ll have a whole team we can expedite,” Patatinis said. “With The Bench, it’s allowing us to do work and do a lot of the construction now that the store is closed.”

Check back with GreaterPortJeff for updates on this developing story.