People who love German food lamented the day Georgia’s German Restaurant closed about 10 years ago as the loss of the last true German restaurant in the region.
In the intervening years the South Lindenhurst site became home to Wellwood Grille, leaving it to The Village Lanterne, serving German buffet and offering Sauerbraten Tuesdays, to pick up the slack in that department.
Making a Return
Now German food is coming back to South Wellwood Avenue.
“It was Georgia’s for 26 years, and then changed management,“ Shawn Hughes said this week, going over final menu ideas a week away from a grand reopening - under a new name that has yet to be announced.
(Update, November 21: The new name, according to Hughes, is S.O.M.O @ 722. He said it stands for South of Montauk.)
“We came here in October, when the place was closed for renovation, and have been redoing the interior for an opening - but like everyone else, our plans have been set back by Hurricane Sandy,” he said.
This past week or so while the facility was physically hosting a growing grassroots community recovery site - Camp Bulldog - Hughes, who has partnered with Grille co-owner John Byrnes, has been hard at it, refurbishing the place and putting together menu plans.
A new heating system and water heaters had to be put in due to storm damage. The Health Department had to give the place an A-OK, too.
There's a new and expanded entryway to emphasize the intimacy of the dining area. The doorway enters into a bar area on the South side, where visitors are welcomed by track lighting, a finely finished bar surface and a collection of beer taps - 12 of them - that far exceeds what was previously on display.
“We plan on bringing back some good German beers,” said Hughes.
A man with 13 years experience in the restaurant industry in Patchogue, Hughes is working hard to come up with a menu that will appeal to those who remember Georgia’s fondly.
“It’s not going to be all German, but we are looking at sauerbraten, potato pancakes maybe, and German stews and goulash," he said. "Right now, we’re trying to twist Georgia’s arm for that recipe!”
Giving Back Post-Sandy
Hughes has been contributing to the community recovery process from the time he first walked into the post-Sandy situation. One of his first actions was to call in the local Lindenhurst Fire Department to cook everything in stock and give it away to people after the storm.
The eatery also played host to the Central Islip Fire Department, which joined the new establishment in helping to cook for the community and handing out food to the community, according to Hughes, who thanks them all for their help.
Since then he's offered his location, access to water and other use of the grounds and facilities to Camp Bulldog.
With the area's recovery process in mind, Hughes said, looking to its actual business plan, the establishment will emphasize family-style dining. That means pricing options and menu choices for the kids, like meat loaf, mac and cheese, pasta with three different sauces and more.
The refurbished restaurants's grand opening is tentatively set for the Monday after Thanksgiving, November 26 - in part to get all the finishing touches done, but also out of deference to Camp Bulldog’s important activities.
“We want to be supportive of the work they’re doing and allow them to focus on that,” said Hughes. “Camp Bulldog is an illustration of how close this town is - how it's come together like a family."
"He added, "We’re excited to have been able to help them out and be part of that by providing the location. For us it’s been an opportunity."
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