Succinctly, emphatically and without ambiguity: This is how Joff Sahin speaks when I visit the Long Island Ale House, a new beer-forward restaurant he opened late last year with his partner, Ari Rutan. Showing me around his spacious new establishment on Route 112 in Medford, Sahin extolls the virtues of seasonal food, proudly announcing he has no microwave.
“You will never see a Sysco truck in our parking lot,” he goes on. “We are as local as it can get.”
Right down to the color scheme, in fact, a bold crimson chosen to match the uniform of the Patchogue-Medford High School’s Red Raiders.
To reinforce his point, Sahin waves over a server and gestures to the draft lines behind the lengthy metallic bar, suggesting that I order the five-beer sampler. (As if I need any encouragement.) Recognizing a few of my favorite New York breweries among the many tap handles, I ask for tasting glasses of Blue Point’s Rastafa Rye Ale, Great South Bay’s Blonde Ambition, Ithaca’s Apricot Wheat, and because I, too, have a fondness for hops, a black IPA from Otter Creek Brewing in Vermont and the infamous Arrogant Bastard made by Stone Brewing in California. Sahin can talk enthusiastically about beer in Turkey too, but he seems to have found inspiration for this joint from his longtime Patchogue neighbor and friend Pete Cotter, owner of Blue Point Brewing Company.
Sahin smiles when the wood beer paddle arrives, and nods in approval. “The kegs are placed 30 inches away,” he says as I take my first sip of the fizzy, creamy Blonde Ambition, detecting subtle notes of apricot and peach. “Beer doesn’t sit in the hose. This is very important.”
Once again, I find it difficult to argue with this gregarious individual, an outspoken entrepreneur who also owns the celebrated Pita House nearby. Understandably, Sahin’s menu at the Ale House aims for multicultural and upscale pub fare: hummus (of course), as well as Peconic Bay clams and oysters, nachos, chicken satay and Ale House rolls, a sort of egg roll with a quesadilla-type filling. And although the Ale House is still evolving—Rutan is working on adding more Long Island wines to the menu and plans to change the food specials roughly every 15 days—both men clearly share a vision for their young business.
“We want to be a social place,” Rutan tells me in his Turkish accent. “And when my customers try these craft beers, they never go back.”
Long Island Ale House, 2016 Route 112, Medford; 631.569.5515, longislandalehouse.com