Brookhaven Town Program to Help Restaurants Stay Open in Cold Weather

First space approved in Stony Brook as a food court-type dining area for area restaurants.

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Photo: Brookhaven Town. L to R: Lexi Davis, manager, Crazy Beans; Callie, Tim and Rocco Martino, owners, Crazy Beans; Dr. Richard Rugen, chairman, Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO); Supervisor Ed Romaine; Gloria Rocchio, President, Stony Brook Village Center; Charles Napoli, trustee, WMHO; Mary Van Tuyl, trustee, WMHO; Danielle Munoz, owner, Robinson’s Tea Room.

Restaurants have taken a particularly hard hit during this pandemic. With limited seating, outside dining options are dwindling as cold weather sets in.


The Town of Brookhaven is aiming to do something about that.


Recently, town officials announced a program that will allow restaurants to use vacant space in shopping centers for expanded seating capacity. Shopping center landlords can apply for permits to allow unoccupied space to be used as a food court-like common dining area, contingent upon Suffolk County Health Department approval.


The Take-Out Inn in Stony Brook is the first location to receive approvals under this new program. According to a press release, the space complies with all Center for Disease Control (CDC) and New York State COVID-19 pandemic guidelines and has been equipped with ionized generators in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system to actively purify the air, killing mold, bacteria and viruses.


The ionization process also reduces allergens, smoke and static electricity, as well as controlling odors and other particles in the air without creating ozone or any harmful byproducts. Customers inside the Take Out Inn will be able to access touchless menus by use of QR codes for Stony Brook Village Center restaurants, including Crazy Beans, Robinson’s Tea Room and Pentimento Restaurant, order their food and eat inside the heated facility.


Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine encouraged other communities to embrace the idea to help restaurants stay open throughout the pandemic.


“These are difficult times and government must be proactive so we can help businesses survive and keep their customers safe,” Romaine said. “With the onset of colder weather, fewer people want to dine outside. I commend Gloria Rocchio, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization and the Stony Brook Village Center for being the first to jump on-board with this new initiative.”


Businesses and landlords interested in this program should contact the Brookhaven Town Planning Division at (631) 451-6400.