They were just curious at first.

Having learned a unique ice cream shop that was planned a block away in Patchogue Village wasn’t moving forward, Tap Room owners James Bonanno and David Johnson called the empty storefront’s realtor to find out what would be moving into 38 West Main Street.

The realtor explained the landlord wanted a restaurant to come in. That, and several restaurateurs had already been inquiring. 

The partners’ wheels started turning.

“We figured it it was going to be a restaurant, we might as well put in a bid to be the one’s who operate it, this way we could dictate what’s going there and make sure it’s not going to be a shoddy dive bar,” Bonanno said in an interview. “We wanted to make something nice and, hopefully, something that reflects the quality of the town.”

It wasn’t long before the pair had signed up to open a second restaurant on the south side about West Main Street, about 14 storefronts away from The Tap Room.

(This as they were opening another Tap Room in Nassau County.)

Renovation plans for the new restaurant — which has no name yet — were approved Tuesday night by the village Planning Board.

The partners are hoping to open up in the 1,700-square-foot former Casa Di Maria shoe shop this summer.

The concept for the place, Bonanno said, revolves around sharing. A portion of the menu will feature gourmet pizzas, along with a variety of new American-style tapas, or small plates, to be passed around the table.

“We’re not deeming it a pizza place,” he said. “With the small plates we’l be promoting a sharing atmosphere where people can come and dine and experience different menu items.”

Also on the menu will be flights of craft beer and wine. “Whether it’s wine or beer flights, we want to promote sharing not only with the food but with the cocktails as well,” he added.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Planning Board chairman John Rocco asked Bonanno whether he was aware there is an Italian restaurant that will be pushing specialty pizza planned for the other side of West Main Street, in the New Village at Patchogue retail and apartments complex. 

Bonanno responded that he was aware. He explained that, other than the pizza, his place won’t be an Italian restaurant.

“I think they’re a white tablecloth, Italian restaurant,” Bonanno said. “And we’re going to be so far from Italian, beside the pizza. None of the small plates will be Italian. It will be quite different.”

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Photo: James Bonanno and Dave Johnson outside their Tap Room in Massapequa Park. (file photo)