Dining on Long Island invariably takes on a beach bungalow vibe when the summer months roll in—but the true taste of comfort resides in the Island’s cozier, more wintry establishments. These restaurants, preferably with a fireplace, dark paneling and wooden beams, can be the perfect remedy for the dark doldrums of winter when eaters need starchy, meaty and rich grub for warmth from the inside out.
Here’s a list of the island’s best lodge-inspired restaurants.
1940 Bellmore Ave., Bellmore
In this German, European and American restaurant, homemade is the rule and comfort is key. With a façade that looks like a cozy country manor and an interior reminiscent of the coziest basement lounge, Oak Chalet is one of Long Island’s singularly unique dining experiences. Hearty German recipes abound on the menu, with wienerschnitzel, bratwurst and potato pancakes bringing a satisfying heft to dinner.
150 Main St., Stony Brook
This folksy throwback of an establishment is big on family comfort, with shareable plates, hearty soups and deep-fried delicacies that exorcise the cold. The pumpkin soup screams late autumn-early winter, while the fish and chips offer a faint memory of summer amid the cold-hard reality of the holiday season. The cheese plates also glow with warmth, complete with fruit compote and raisin walnut toast. The dining room’s centerpiece, a stone fireplace, provides an extra nudge of snug intimacy.
4310 Austin Blvd., Island Park
The South Shore is rife with casual eateries, so stepping into Jimmy Hays Steak House in Island Park can be a shock to the sensibilities. That sense of dismay is quickly abated with the hushed tones of the restaurant’s elegant, upscale atmosphere and a seared steak aroma that permeates the senses. The meat menu is exhaustive with dry-aged New York strip, filet mignon, Chateaubriand, double-thick lamb chops and more, while seafood also has a chance to dance with lobster, Atlantic salmon and irrepressible cioppino bouillabasse stew.