A one-of-a-kind whiskey experience for Long Island is in the works for Port Jefferson.
And it’s all thanks to Facebook.
About a month ago, Scott Brittman, originally of East Setauket, reached out to his fellow dads on the Three Village Dad‘s Facebook group. He had some extra cash at his disposal and was looking for something to do with it.
He asked the 1,300 members in the group about ideas.
Soon after, he received a call from Three Village Dad member and longtime buddy John Louis, the owner of Maui Chop House in Rocky Point, who saw the post.
“He said, ‘Let’s open a place together,’” said Brittman, who now lives in Miller Place.
The two shared their concept of opening up a restaurant with a focus on whiskey cocktails.
Other dads said they wanted in, too.
The idea for The Whiskey Barrel was born.
The restaurant/bar is being planned for the heart of Port Jefferson Village at 138 Main Street, the spot that last housed the short-lived Fork & Fiddle BBQ restaurant.
Louis, who is bringing in Maui’s young phenom chef Madison Bender and kitchen manager Joelle Rabolt in on this project, recruited Long Island’s resident whiskey and bourbon expert as well: Thomas Francis.
“This is gonna be a whiskey destination,” said Francis. “From Out East to the New York City there’s nothing like this where you can walk in and get 100-plus whiskeys on a shelf.”
The Whiskey Barrel team said they will be carrying an eclectic selection of whiskey, bourbons, and scotches, for all palates.
They will have some advance stuff too — like bottles that can cost up to $6,000.
They’ll be doing flights and tastings.
“The educational component is just as important,” said Francis. “I feel like a lot of people who haven’t experienced the bourbon or the whiskey, come in with a rookie palate and they might feel a little intimidated and we don’t want them to be intimidated.
“We want them to walk in and leave and go, ‘Shit I like that.’”
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They plan to have a lengthy wine list and loads of craft beer.
They also got their tobacco license and will be selling cigars.
For food, Louis said there will be a lot of “hand-held stuff” like Cuban sandwiches, pork katsu sandwiches, wings, and a burger.
“We pretty much want to keep it simple,” said Louis, adding his wings will be cooked with homemade sauces.
“We’re going to have the best wings on the island,” said Brittman.
The ownership group — they all live in the nearby areas — says this project is perfect for Port Jefferson.
“Port Jeff’s in our backyard, it’s got a lot of foot traffic, it’s got a lot of promise,” said Paul Hess, another part-owner.
They’re eying a Memorial Day weekend launch.
Meanwhile, the Three Village Dads group is champing at the bit to see this place come to life.
“The total response from everyone has been amazing,” said David Tracy, Three Village Dad Facebook group founder and also a co-owner in this venture. “It was an overwhelming amount of guys that were just like ‘I’m in’… our doors aren’t even anywhere near open, so the anticipation is great and I trust John and my partners wholeheartedly.”
Check back at greaterportjeff.com for more updates The Whiskey Barrel.
All photos by Andrew Theodorakis of Yellow House Images.
Top: Scott Brittman and John Louis toasting it up at the space soon to become The Whiskey Barrel.