Chef Tom Colicchio, known for his Craft and Heritage Steak restaurants and his role as a “Top Chef” judge, has opened a new restaurant concept on Long Island, marking a pivot from the celebrity chef's primarily urban ventures.
Small Batch is located at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City and has a much more laidback vibe than the other restaurants under his Crafted Hospitality banner, which operate in New York City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
“People living outside major restaurant areas all want better options,” Colicchio said. “I don’t think the location is a problem. I mean, Per Se and Masa are both attached to malls. … There are definitely opportunities [at malls] for smaller independents to come in. “
Colicchio currently resides on Long Island, living in a nearly-200-year-old farmhouse in Mattituck on Eastern Long Island. Small Batch’s design was inspired by his home and features farmhouse-style touches like oversized barn lights, oak walls and lighting in the bar area made from orchard ladders. The 180-seat, 7,000-square-foot open kitchen-style restaurant was designed by Peter Bentel of Bentel & Bentel Architects, who has worked with Colicchio on most of his projects.
“I wanted him to envision a farmhouse from the inside and outside,” Colicchio said. “The result is definitely that feel without being kitschy.”
The restaurant’s menu — for an average check of $75 per person with alcohol — features approachable, produce-forward comfort food, including appetizers like Honeycrisp apples with squash, smoked chili and country ham; Prince Edward Island mussels in a white wine cream sauce; and such Long Island-centric entrées, including Long Island Crescent Pekin duck with Honeynut squash, Swiss chard, fig syrup and black garlic.
Colicchio cited the restaurant’s smoked short rib with polenta and peppers dish as a prime example of the restaurant’s take on familiar comfort food. The short rib is bone-in, smoked, and braised, while the polenta is creamy on the inside with a crispy top.
Appetizers will be priced between $14 and $22, and entrees will range from $29 to $60.
“We wanted to do something more approachable and affordable,” Colicchio said. “It’s everyday food.”
Although Colicchio said he’s sure a lot of the clientele will come from the mall, he is also targeting office workers for lunchtime as well as locals from the nearby suburban communities.
A significant focus of Small Batch will also be its farm-to-table initiatives and partnerships with local spirits purveyors like Long Island Vodka and Rough Rider straight bourbon.
“We’re definitely letting people know that we’re sourced locally,” Colicchio said. “And hopefully they’ll learn more about the farms in their neighborhoods.”
This will be Colicchio's latest venture into the Long Island culinary scene. He previously served as executive chef of Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton but parted ways with the restaurant in late 2014.
This isn’t the only restaurant project Colicchio has in the works. In May, he announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot food hall set to open in Kansas City in 2020.
Small Batch opened on December 12.
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