This team of restaurateurs is hopping on the ramen wave sweeping the island.
Terence Daly, owner of Great South Bar in Patchogue, chef Stephen Piechnik, and Joseph Italiano, owner of Delfiore Pizza in Patchogue, are joining forces in bringing ramen and izakaya to Patchogue.
Aiming to open next week in the old Duke’s Dogs location at 58a South Ocean Ave., Rōnin Ramen blossomed from a shared love of slurping noodles.
The trio describes their partnership as the “stars aligning just at the right time.”
“I had been thinking about this for a while and I couldn’t shake it,” Daly said. “Joe and I started talking about it, it sort of happened pretty quickly actually.”
Piechnik and Daly, both from Sayville, have known each other for 16 years, but it was like passing ships in the night when attempting to work together.
Daly and Italiano met up with Piechnik, who just moved back to Long Island after being furloughed from 1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel.
“He asked me, ‘So, what do you know about Asian cuisine?’ and I was like, an awful lot,” Piechnik said.
Piechnik’s resume as a chef in the restaurant industry spans nine years, but here are some highlights.
He was classically trained in French cuisine and attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Miami.
He started out as a chef at a major fine-dining Japanese restaurant called Zuma Miami where he experienced elevated Japanese cuisine.
Established Miami-chef Michael Lewis reached out to Piechnik to join his team as a sous chef at KYU, a woodfire Asian-inspired American barbeque restaurant in Wynwood.
He said in culinary school, he learned to refine his skills, but when he stepped into the realm of Asian cuisine, he said it was a whole new level of precision.
“It’s just the way the flavors melt and the way they can stack flavors, the ferments, everything, it’s just a whole new world,” he said. “There’s a respect for ingredients and treating all your food with technique, and that’s something that we’re looking to bring to this. ”
All three were on board to bringing ramen to Patchogue, saying their menu would really “shine” in the village.
“There’s no ramen around here, this town needs ramen,” Italiano said.
People can walk into Rōnin Ramen to “get some noodles and get out,” Piechnik said.
It’s an izakaya concept, which is essentially cold beer, sake, and tapas.
Aside from three small-portioned ramen options, six “light bites” like oysters, fluke crudo, beef tartare, and chicken gyoza are also on the menu.
An elevated “hearty, heart-warming meal” is what the ramen boys plan to bring to the table.
The owners also formulated a saké and beer program of classic cocktails with a Japanese twist, a wide saké selection, lagers, drafts, and wine.
“Rōnin” means wanderer or samurai without a master — there are several painted “rōnins” on the wall of the space and Japanese film posters of classic movies often screened at Great South Bar.
One entertainment selling point is a Gameboy Colors station behind the bar with two handheld consoles, one for Pokémon Red and the other for Pokémon Blue.
“We’re people that slurp noodles all day long, there’s that whole clientele base that we’re hoping to strike for, but we’re also looking for those not educated in Asian cuisine,” Piechnik said. “This is going to be a place where you can learn — we wanna educate the town, open their eyes, and expand palettes.”
Keep an eye out for the full greaterpatchogue.com sneak peek exclusive of Rōnin Ramen, coming soon to Patchogue.
Top: (Left to right) Stephen Piechnik, Terence Daly, and Joseph Italiano.