By Danny Schrafel
The Gourmet Whaler is getting its close-up.
After its July 4 grand reopening following a complete makeover, the iconic Cold Spring Harbor gourmet market hosted film crews on Monday for NBC’S “Talk Stoop,” which filmed scenes there and at other locations on Monday for an upcoming Cold Spring Harbor feature.
Gourmet Whaler business partner Denise Chin said she wasn’t quite sure how the show’s representatives found the restaurant, but she’s grateful they did.
“They just called us and asked if we could use the place,” she said.
The film session came after a bit of a whirlwind year for the restaurant, during which owner Shawn Leonard put the Whaler on the market. Ultimately, Leonard, a 55-year resident of Cold Spring Harbor, only sold half and took Chin on as a partner in late April.
Chin, a chocolatier and a pastry chef who owns Dreimaker Chocolates in Farmingdale, has since put a new spin on the place while holding to tradition.
“I was renting the counter right there all winter. He was going to sell the store,” Chin said. “I talked him into staying with me and he bought into the partnership.”
After the Whaler shut for renovations in the spring, Chin and the crew revamped the interior, with weathered wood walls and the feel that you’re lounging at the dock, over the next two and a half months.
“We have mermaids. We have the whale – we’re staying with the nautical theme,” she said. And our serving sizes are also whale-sized. Everything is big here – big and beautiful.”
Then again, hospitality and food might just be in Chin’s blood. Asked how she got into chocolate, her answer is succinct: “I’m Greek. We need to feed people, and we like sweets,” Chin said, with a laugh. “Tom Carvel – Carvelas – is Greek. Dove chocolate is Greek. Many, many old-fashioned ice cream shops are run by Greeks. We need to do that. We can’t help it.”