For Frederick H. Terry Sr., North Fork Tasting Room represents more than an assemblage of artisan pours from Long Island craft breweries and wineries; the Riverhead-based boutique is his canvas for personal exploration.
“I’m in the twilight of my career, so there isn’t any pressure to succeed, or operate in a specific way,” says Terry, who opened North Fork Tasting Room in August. “It’s a playground for me, basically to experiment with the things that I like.”
Terry, proprietor of the Lobster Roll in Amagansett and Riverhead (the restaurant’s easternmost location opened in 1965), paints North Fork Tasting Room with a confident stroke. Within a restored early-20th-century barn, once used as a horse stable, soft lights caress pastel-hued walls and an original wood-beamed frame, and vintage bottles of Laurel Lake Vineyards Cabernet Franc and Comtesse Thérèse Hungarian Oak Merlot occupy windowsills. The decor embodies Terry’s desire for warmth, and beckons for the company of people—and quality alcohol. For the latter, North Fork Tasting Room offers 20-plus local wineries and a 10-draft beer tower. Recent brews include Long Ireland Beer Company Wet Hopped Pale Ale, a malty-sweet ale using hops from Condzella’s Farm initial harvest, and Rocky Point Artisan Brewers Oktoberweisse, a Bavarian-style fusion of the brewery’s Oktoberfest and Hefeweizen (North Fork Tasting Room is one of the first non-Rocky Point clients for the brewery, which opened in June).
“We’re in a high-traffic location, and the perfect place to fuel the North Fork’s economy,” says Terry. “Farmers are growing hops for our local breweries, wineries are experimenting with new styles, and I want to showcase all of that. If it’s rare and exclusive, we’re going to carry it.”
Though North Fork Tasting Room’s moniker may suggest only liquid nourishment, a small menu of local-sourced appetizers (e.g., Parmesan-crusted sprout lollipops and smoked Long Island duck flatbread) and desserts are also served, prepared and delivered (via foot) from neighbor, the Lobster Roll. Terry, who is “constantly tinkering with different family recipes,” often supplies customers with complimentary food as an appreciative gesture.
“I’m constantly giving away food to our customers. If I bake some pies, I’ll just hand them out. It makes people feel good, and I like that.”
Whether boutique wines, craft beers or housemade tapas, Terry’s aspirations for North Fork Tasting Room are simple: present Long Island within an intimate atmosphere.
“I’m not interested in running a circus with tour buses and thumping music,” Terry says. “It’s real easy to lose intimacy and customer relationships with a business, but I won’t let that happen here. People can come and share and enjoy things. Our vibe is fun.”