We asked server Corey Hutchins of Selden to describe the look and feel of the new Locale Gastro Bar & Pizzette, which opened this week in the heart of Patchogue Village.
But Hutchins mostly wanted to talk about the Castelli family behind the restaurant.
“The family, the people who are here, that’s really what sets it apart from everything else,” he said.
So we gave manager Jess Kloberdanz a shot.
The Patchogean displayed some institutional knowledge. She called Locale “hipster elegant.”
“We’re trying to elevate that level of service without losing the fact that this is Patchogue; it’s a hipster village,” she said. “Patchogue is a cool place to be, and cool people don’t always want to go somewhere where you’re being perfectly presented with a bottle of wine.
“But we’re making it cool.”
Fabrizio Castelli, whose new Locale restaurant he opened with his children, said it’s about theatrics.
“It’s theater,” he said. “It’s setting the mood.”
The Castellis — Fabrizio, Ariana, Giuseppe and Francesco — tested the 4,700-square-foot restaurant to friends, relatives and associates this past weekend into Monday.
After a night off, they opened again Wednesday to the general public.
But, as Fabrizio Castelli tells it, the hope is that everyone who visits Locale, or their Primo Piatto in Huntington, is made to feel like family.
“We look at this as an extension of our home,” he says.
The balance they’re aiming to achieve in Patchogue is fine dining in a welcoming atmosphere.
“Nothing stuffy,” Fabrizio says.
Essentially, the plan is to be themselves.
With roots in restaurants that span over a century in Sicily, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island, part of being themselves means deriving joy from cooking great food for other people.
Click here to read more about the family’s history in restaurants.
To help that along, they’ve recruited executive chef Anthony Citarella of Dix Hills, who has cooked at American and Asian fusion restaurants on Long Island like Smithtown’s Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi and Massapequa’s Taste American Grill.
“It was an easy decision to come and work for the Castelli family,” Citarella said. “Their experience, their ambition, their drive. They’re goal oriented and business savvy and I’ve learned so much from them.”
One thing he recognized right away was to leave a hundred years of cooking alone.
Much of the menu will reflect the same offerings at Primo Piatto, along with some Citarella-conceived dishes such as the Spinach and Artichoke Encrusted Salmon with White Bean and Herb Roasted Tomato Ragu that got rave reviews during the soft openings.
Of course, the menu also offers Italian fan favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, pappardelle bolognese, veal saltimbocca, rice balls and chicken sorrentino, to name a few.
“Anthony did a great job of learning what we do well,” said Francesco Castelli, who also works the kitchen. “And his personality — which isn’t exactly typical of chefs — was such that he recognized what we did well, and then brought his ideas to the table additionally to put us over the top.”
Locale Gastro Bar & Pizzette is located at 15 West Main Street, just west of the Four Corners, and is part of the New Village at Patchogue complex.
It features two dining rooms that seat a total of 170, a bar that sits 14 and a pizza oven — all in an urban environment that’s eclectic in design but heavy on industrial chic. One of the two large dining rooms (the one with the fireplace) will be used for private catering space as well.
“We want to be true to ourselves and what we’ve always done; we want to duplicate that here,” Fabrizio Castelli said.
While not Manhattan — even though it might feel like it — a name in showbiz Fabrizio is hoping to attract is legendary actress, model, fellow Italian and Bellport resident Isabella Rossellini.
And he wasn’t shy about asking us to publish an open invitation.
“Write something like, ‘Fabrizio would love for Isabella to come here,’” he said.
“Isabella,” Francesco added, “If you’re reading this, please.”
Top: Corey Hutchins with a glass of Malbec in Locale’s main dining room. (Michael White)