Evan Bucholz (Credit: David Benthal)
AS TOLD TO GINA WAY
Evan Bucholz grew up in Jamesport. “As a child, growing up by the water and riding my bike to the beach, rescuing in the summer, I loved it! But when I turned 18, I was ready to leave and move to Manhattan “, he says. He went to college in upstate New York and then worked to get his master’s degree in American Literature. “I was working as a bartender in New York then, and it seemed like a more viable career move than becoming a college professor.” Bucholz moved to Brooklyn with his wife, Kyla (they met while working at a North Fork restaurant one summer), and worked behind the bar at Colicchio & Sons in New York and from Fort Defiance to Red Hook.
Eventually, the couple decided to move to North Fork and start a family. They opened Brix & Rye with partner Matt Michel in 2014. The bar’s basement speakeasy vibe, along with the ever-changing cocktail menu, is steeped in a sense of history and nostalgia, not to mention Bucholz’s mixology expertise and passion for cocktails. traditions. He and his family now live in his hometown of Jamesport (talk about coming full circle). “The beaches, the farms, the community – I think as you get older you learn to appreciate that quintessential small town vibe a lot more.”
Here are Evan’s favorite things in the North Fork:
FAVORITE PLACES FOR LUNCH
De Jesus Deli Taqueria (1106 Old Country Road) at Roanoke Plaza in Riverhead is a real hidden gem. The mole tamales and tacos al pastor are excellent. They marinate the pork with pineapple so it’s super tasty. I also like Shadees Jamaican Take-Out Restaurant (307 East Main St.), near the Long Island Aquarium. The food is authentic and delicious – spicy oxtail, beef patties, curried goat and chicken. They also have Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit soda that goes well with spicy food – and Jamaican rum!
FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT
Barrow Food House in Aquebogue (452 Main Road), is a small, casual family restaurant owned by husband-and-wife chefs Amanda and Kyle Romeo. You order at the counter and can dine inside or outside. They have a fantastic fried chicken sandwich, the burger is exceptional and their salads are awesome. Their produce comes from the family farm down the street, so everything is really fresh.
FAVORITE FAMILY BEACH DAY
In the summer, we pack up the cooler and go down to one of the bay’s beaches with our two little girls. We usually head straight down the road from us to Miamogue Point Park in Jamesport. When visiting friends, we will rent a canoe The peconic paddler in Riverhead (89 Peconic Ave.) and go on an adventure. You can paddle the Peconic River to the mouth of Peconic Bay, where you flip the canoe.
It goes without saying that my favorite pizza is at 1943 Pizzeria in Greenport (308D Main St.), which is upstairs from Brix & Rye. It belongs to my co-owner and partner, Matt Michel. Even though I ate as much of this pizza as a human being can, I still think it’s totally delicious.
Paumanok Vineyards in Aquebogue (1074 Main Road) make some of the best wines on Long Island, and their chenin blanc is always amazing. I also like Croteaux vineyards in Southold (1450 South Harbor Road) because of their outstanding outdoor tasting room. As far as processing spots go, you can’t beat this beautiful hidden garden overlooking the vineyard.
FAVORITE NATURE WALK
We love taking nature walks with our daughters and the parks and preserves are so easy to get to here, while most beaches require a residential parking permit. You can basically drive and go to a park and hike. Our favorite place is Lake Laurel Reserve in Southold (5501 Main Road), where you feel like the meadows and forest trails are yours to explore.
FAVORITE BAR (OTHER THAN HIS OWN)
Having kids and working at the bar, I don’t go out as much as I used to, but the only place I want to linger is Stirling sake in Greenport (477 Main St.), a Japanese restaurant and sake bar. It’s a very cool place and the food is perfect, especially the excellent sushi. They make great use of local ingredients and fresh fish. The owner, Yuki Mori, is a certified sake sommelier and offers a top-notch selection. I don’t know much about sake and Yuki is a great source of knowledge.
Star confectionery in downtown Riverhead (4 East Main St.) is affectionately known to locals as Papa Nick’s. The iconic spot is housed in a beautiful historic building and has been open since 1920, and it’s still run by the Meras family. They have counter service and booths, an authentic soda fountain, tin ceiling and marble floors. They do great milkshakes and dinner dishes. They even make homemade ice cream and chocolate bunnies at Easter! It’s a really legit place.