Restaurant’s Resurrection After Fire

Arielle Dollinger

adollinger@longislandergroup.com

 

Pictured: General Manager Kelly Danek behind the bar of newly-renovated Red Restaurant.

Pictured: General Manager Kelly Danek behind the bar of newly-renovated Red Restaurant.

Nine months after a fire closed Huntington village’s Red Restaurant and its neighbors, Red has reopened as a “more open, warmer” space with “the original heart of Red,” its general manager said.

The New York Avenue restaurant owned by Nino Antuzzi reopened on Dec. 16 and was one of several businesses, including studio and framing shop The Village Artist and retail store FAD, taken out by a March 1, 2014 fire. Red’s current incarnation features a new cocktail menu of vintage-inspired drinks, a new wine list and a completely new interior, General Manager Kelly Danek said on Tuesday.

“We had a blank canvas,” Danek said of the post-fire restaurant. “We were down to cinderblock walls, a dirt floor, and the sky as our ceiling.”

The roof was deemed compromised and “everything else” had been saturated by the water used to fight the fire, she said. And so, the rebuild meant both necessity and opportunity for change.

“It still has the original heart of Red, I think you can still feel Red in the space; but I would say it’s more open, warmer, and still modern but with a more of an art deco twist to it,” Danek said.

With red-cushioned chairs with dark frames and walls painted shades of red and gold, the new interior is both clean and cozy. Wooden floors are balanced by glass accents and cushy brown bench seating in an out cove along the far wall.

The dining room at Red Restaurant has been completely redone in the wake of a March 1 fire.

The dining room at Red Restaurant has been completely redone in the wake of a March 1 fire.

Regular customers have been returning, Danek said – a fact that has “been exciting, a relief” - but new clientele are coming in, too.

“They’ve [regular customers] been asking for nine-and-a-half months, so the moment that we were able to serve them again, they were very excited to be back in the house,” Danek said.

The new cocktail menu consists of “cocktails inspired by vintage recipes,” she said, and is part of the restaurant’s effort to keep control of the products it serves. Cocktails are made with fresh-squeezed organic juice made in-house, house-made syrup and small-batch liquors.

Each producer of wines included on the new wine list is either sustainable, organic or biodynamic.

“I think it was just to be full circle, that philosophy of: we like to use small farms, we like to support the small business, and the most that we can do in house, the better control we have over the product that we’re serving to you,” Danek said of the restaurant’s decision to change the drink selection.

The new wine menu is a result of the restaurant’s loss of wine inventory. Water damage took out the entire wine inventory, among other things, Danek said.

“We started completely from scratch, and with that, just redesigned everything,” she said. “And that included the wine list.”

Danek said that she could not comment on the cost of repairs, but did say that “it’s expensive to build a beautiful restaurant.”

“It was a surprise, it wasn’t something that we had planned,” she said, “but you roll with the punches that you’re given and just try and… look for the silver lining that exists in it.”

The “silver lining,” she said, is reopening and having a new restaurant to “call our home for the next… hopefully decade or so.”