104 Main St.
Port Jefferson, N.Y.
After returning to Long Island from being away for a year, you notice changes quickly. Especially in restaurants.
Whether it be the economy, or lack of customers, or well, both, restaurants can come and go in a snap. The key is, having the right all-around package to lure customers in time and time again, while having reasonable prices.
Which brings me to today’s food-venture: lunch in Port Jefferson.
My town (or as Wikipedia calls it, a “hamlet”) is situated right next to Port Jefferson (a.k.a. Port Jeff) village: a beautiful vacation / harbor port destination right on the Long Island Sound. Many people know Port Jefferson because its where the ferry from Bridgeport, C.T. comes in and out every day. But if you look closer, its more than just tourists and the ferry. Year-round locals such as myself are always on the streets of Port Jeff, whether it be at one of the local boutique clothing stores or many of the fun restaurants with delicious foods.
Main St. is its central hub. Since I’ve returned I noticed many comings and goings on this street alone. Two to note are the additions of fro-yo shops, one across the street from the other: Red Mango (similar to Pinkberry), and Yogo Delish (a local self serve fro-yo shop, very similar to the fro-yo shops I discussed in my “Tour de Fro-Yo” in Charleston). I’ll write a separate post about the fro-yo shops later.
But the new vibrant eatery that I discovered today was unexpected. Before I left for Syracuse, this corner location was originally taken by a bakery called “Long Island’s Best Desserts.” I looked up and discovered it was now “eatPIADA.” It was just what I was looking for today: a sandwich cafe.
Long Islanders: this is no ordinary sandwich cafe. Some of you may already know eatMOSAIC in St. James, a restaurant that’s created a lot of great buzz (my cousin’s talk about this place all the time, I need to try it!), including high ranks from Zagat. eatPIADA is eatMOSAIC’s newest venture! The location is perfect for this type of cafe: it’s right next to the shopping areas and the ferry terminal. When I discovered eatPIADA was related to eatMOSAIC about halfway through my meal (through finding the Zagat rating posted in a little cupboard it had on one of the walls), I was even more excited to be there.
The atmosphere was warm, welcoming, and most of all, vibrant. It had an overall energetic, mod feel to it. I loved the eye-catching lime green walls mixed with the different hints of striped colors. The tables and chairs were black, with the exception of the adorable window nook booth/table seat (which I sat in). The nook was one of my favorite parts of the experience: sitting on a very comfortable cushion looking out the window at the Port Jeff people! I especially loved the extra touches on the walls, including a painting of what I believe was the ferry, and what looked like was a strip on the wall with magnets that people could move around any play with. As I saw people of different ages in eatPIADA, including families with young children, its definitely an all-ages, friendly place to stop by!
For lunch I was craving a sandwich, but not just my usual SUBWAY footlong. eatPIADA’s menu has “piada’s”: 12″ chilled whole wheat wraps with fresh-made ingredients inside, as well as “piada(less)”, which instead of getting a wrap, getting the fresh ingredients on a salad. A “piada” is essentially an Italian-style wrap.
For $8, there are 13 piada’s to choose from including the grilled vegetable caprese (fresh mozzarella, basil pesto and balsamic vinaigrette), poached salmon florentine (baby spinach, cucumber, feta, capers, lemon), and the roast beef tricolore (chicory, fontina, horseradish and balsamic bbq sauce). I asked the server behind the counter what her favorite piada’s were and she said it was between the chicken caesar and the chicken parmesean. Since I’m a huge chicken parm. fan, I decided to get the chicken parm piada (fresh mozzarella, ricotta, pomodoro tomato and crumbs) as my entree:
I loved its presentation: one side of the piada was wrapped in neatly folded parchment paper with an “eatPIADA” sticker on it. The piada was toasted, which you have to ask for. Normally, the piada’s come chilled unless asked. The first thing I noticed after taking a bite was the cheese. I’m a huge cheese lover, so of course I loved the juicy, creamy, mozzarella with the sweet, crumbly ricotta with a hint of tang. The two cheeses brought a balance to the piada. If you’re not a huge fan of cheese, however, I would avoid this piada, as it does take up a great deal of the wrap. There was so much cheese in the piada that the rest of the flavors (tomatoes, crumbs, and chicken) weren’t coming through as well. While too much sauce could’ve caused a big mess, just a tad more sauce could’ve helped bring this piada to outstanding-ness. I also wish the sauce was a bit more tangy. The grilled chicken was delicious, but as I said, wasn’t as apparent as the cheese.
Now at first I thought paying $8 for a 12 inch wrap was a little pricey. But then thinking of prices in this area, $8 is a fair price for a wrap. The $8 also included sales tax, making it very easy to pay (even prices).
To drink, I noticed how eatPIADA had different flavored waters, sodas and juices in its cooler. However, I was eyeing the fresh-made lemonade for $3. When the server asked if I wanted it frozen, my eyes lit up widely, “Yes, please!”
This frozen lemonade was amazing, and definitely tasted fresh-squeezed. I have to say “Goodbye” to McDonald’s new strawberry frozen lemonade that I raved about on my Twitter and Facebook pages. If you get a chance to stop in eatPIADA, definitely try this frozen drink. It’s not too tart, not too sweet and is very light and bubbly. Once you finish drinking the lemonade part, there will be some frozen ice leftover in the cup. Unlike a good deal of slushie-type drinks though, this frozen lemonade actually seeps into the ice, meaning that the ice you’ll be opening your lid to eat won’t just be lemon flavored ice, it’ll taste like frozen lemonade. Amen to that.
I loved the first two things I tried, but I couldn’t resist having chocolate with my meal. While one half of eatPIADAs huge chilled food case was filled with the piada ingredients, the other half was filled with fresh-made baked goods, including chocolates, pastries and what I got, truffles.
The $2 truffle I got was no regular truffle. It was a huge, fudgey, amazing ball of chocolate. The server told me the “cookies and cream” one that I got was her favorite as well and she called it something to the likes of “chocolately goodness.”
For $2, what chocolate lover wouldn’t want to test out one of these truffles? After taking one bite, I was hooked. Oreo crumbs on the outside, rich, chocolate fudginess on the inside. One of the best desserts I’ve ever had thus far in life, hands down.
eatPIADA opened about a month ago, according to its website. Its website also notes that it uses organic and local products whenever possible, which is exciting! As eatMOSAIC is known for its daily changing 5-course menu, I’m curious as to whether eatPIADA will do something of the same sort. We shall see. But for now, Long Islanders, I most definitely recommend eatPIADA if you’re looking for a quick bite in Port Jeff. It has the full package I was speaking of earlier: reasonable prices, great atmosphere, fresh, delicious food and drinks. And vegetarians, you’ll definitely love this place too as it has great veggie piada options.