FARMINGDALE, NY — Big 2021 plans are in the works for 317 Main Street. The Farmingdale gastropub, co-owned by restaurateur Joe Fortuna and chef Eric LeVine, plans on introducing The Marketplace at 317 as late as early February.
Fans of Le Petit Café, which recently closed due to coronavirus economic complications, will see a familiar face has joined the 317 team: Kristina Grimes will help the restaurant roll out breakfast on Monday and assist LeVine in launching the marketplace.
LeVine, a champion of The Food Network's "Chopped," opened 317 Main Street in 2019. The marketplace was part of the original opening plan, and the recent closure of Le Petit Café made it an easier decision on when to start it, according to LeVine.
"It just happened to be that, unfortunately, COVID claimed another business, and we gained Tina here," LeVine told Patch.
The marketplace will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day and will offer a wide variety of grab-and-go items to heat-and-eat meal kits: panini sandwiches, juices, acai bowls, gelatos, pastries, cut steaks and fish, cappuccino, espresso, soups, a pasta line, salad shakers, cookbooks by LeVine and other chefs, and small wares for the home cook. Commuters will also be able to quickly grab an egg sandwich and coffee before hopping on a nearby train.
Breakfast, which will run from 8 to 11 a.m., will be in the eatery's main dining room Monday through Friday.
LeVine and Grimes are both graduates of The Culinary Institute of America. The duo are currently planning the menu for the marketplace, but it will include staples from both 317 Main Street and Le Petit Café. Some of the cafe's breakfast items will be worked into 317's brunch menu, Grimes said.
LeVine praised Grimes' ability to run a marketplace-type store and connection to the community as reasons for her joining 317.
"I’m excited to have her on our team and be part of our future and what we’re doing," LeVine said. "It just made sense, and it works out really well for all of us. We can continue to build what we are, and take that part of it to the next level."
Grimes said she's excited to join 317 Main Street alongside her general manager from Le Petit
Café, Erin Russo. She noted that she and LeVine had been collaborating on certain things for nearly a year.
"This is such a great opportunity because I know Eric trusts me to make things, so I can help him," Grimes said. "By coming in here and helping them and being an employee here, it will free him up. I can be creative and help him with whatever he’s doing."
The Marketplace at 317 is going to take on a life of its own complete with ebbs and flows, LeVine said. It's a "massive undertaking," but one that's meant to be creative and fun. It will be a one-stop-shop for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
LeVine said, until now, he has not worked with any other graduates from The Culinary Institute of America; only because most chefs have done their own thing following graduation. However, he and Grimes will be strong teammates, he feels.
"We’re very much cut from the same cloth, which is great because it’s not about ego," he said. "It’s about food. About making people happy and bringing them an experience."
Eventually, Grimes will join LeVine for his cooking classes. The two of them may start a pastry-only class together.
The transition was necessary to ensure some of Grimes' cafe would live on as a result of the pandemic, she said. Yet, she's excited for the future.
"I guess everything happens for a reason, and this was the end, but what it’s going to become is going to be amazing," Grimes said.
LeVine added, "It’s the end of one era and the beginning of another. It’s nothing more or less than that."
Signage will point customers to the rear of 317 Main Street for the marketplace, and a team will be advertising it across social media. Anyone who parks in the lot behind the restaurant to eat will walk through the marketplace on their way to the dining room.
"It’s kind of like Disney when you get off the ride, you go through the shop," LeVine said. "You may come here for dinner, but you may go, ‘Oh, I can grab a dessert on the way out.’ To me, as a business owner, it doesn’t matter where we’re making money from; whether it’s from the marketplace or the dining room, we’re here to make money."
LeVine said his primary goal for 317 Main Street in 2021 is "survival." However, he wants to continue to innovate to ensure his restaurant is a fun and exciting place for patrons. He also hopes that society will be able to get back to live music and events this year, as coronavirus-related restrictions prevented that through most of 2020.
"I hope we can get past what’s going on right now and become what we started as, which was a place where you can come in, come for a fun night out of music on the weekends, come out and brunch," he said.
And soon, breakfast and the marketplace will be new wrinkles for the eatery. The store is located at 317 Main St., Farmingdale.