Few things spell love like watching the sun set over the Sound with a bottle of wine and that special someone by your side, which is why OkCupid’s first chief marketing officer, Melissa Hobley, made North Fork his home.
Lucky for you, she and Suzette Emma of Island Gatherings Picnic Co., who specialize in staging romantic occasions, have shared their favorite Eastern hangouts in Riverhead, day and night.
Whether you’re looking for that extra sizzle to put a ring on or a fun, lively setting to spark a first date, hit these hot spots to put the fireworks back in your life.
FOR DREAM DAYS
Options and dinghies
1010 Village Ln, Orient, NY 11957
Hours: Open from Friday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on Thursday
Impress foodies with a trip to this ravioli, ice cream and croissants hotspot in the heart of the Orient, with its charming seaside cottages and village square. “You really feel like you’re stepping into another era,” Hobley said. “And in the fall, it’s just beautiful.” Because it is difficult to sit outside of this small restaurant, Hobley recommends taking your food and enjoying it near the nearby marina.
Marie Eiffel market
184 N Ferry Road
Market hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 7 p.m. to 6 p.m., closed Tuesday
Feel like you’ve traveled to another continent without venturing more than eight minutes to this charming Shelter Island French bistro that serves croque monsieur, croque madame and French toast all day. Dip into lunch with a Brie and French Ham Sandwich, a Grass-Fed Hanger Steak Sandwich or a Parisian Sandwich. Don’t skip dessert, order a treat to share like their Bourbon infusion vanilla ice cream, a chocolate croissant or a mini Nutella donut. Sit by the waterfront deck to kick the date up a few notches.
Harbes Family Farm
715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, NY 11952
Hours: Open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The scent of pumpkin is known to boost excitement, which is why Hobley recommends heading to this Mattituck farm, filled with all kinds of spicy pumpkin drinks and baked goodies. “They have live music on the weekends, you can have cider,” Hobley said. “It’s the ‘choice’ for a reason.” Get to know your date by strolling through their eight-acre U-Pick pumpkin patch, getting lost in their Wizard of Oz corn maze, or hitchhiking on the Barnyard Adventure Hayride (available on weekends and holidays). The best way to reach a second or third date is to take the pressure off your first date, Hobley said.
Eastern Front Brewing Co.
13100 Main Road, Mattituck, NY 11952
Hours: Mon 12 to 4 p.m., Tuesday 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 5 to 8 p.m., Sat 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
For a loving good time, Hobley recommends this small, craft brewery in Mattituck, offering an intimate garden where you soak up live music during the day or under the twinkling stars and string lights at night. If you want to impress a date with your pipes, check out their open mic party, every Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
8 hand farm
4735 Cox Ln, Cutchogue, NY 11935
Closed Mon and Tue, Thu – Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sun 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Watching adorable goats frolic and fluffy chicks cuddle up against their mother hens has a way to lead to human hugs and kisses, said Hobley, who enjoys this “farm to fork” destination for the little ones. -Low stake lunches. She’s also a fan of their pastries, especially their Coconut Chocolate Almond Scone, a rich treat that’s perfect to share around one of the best lattes you’ll find on North Fork. “8 Hands is loved by both locals and New Yorkers alike because their food is so amazing, and they make great coffee, too,” Hobley said. Pick up some meat to grill from their butcher’s shop if you’re ready to make your day-to-night appointment.
FOR NIGHT MOVES
58775 County Road 48, Greenport, NY 11944
L, T, W – closed, TH 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m., Fri – Sun 12 p.m.-3 p.m., 4:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
The skyline draws in from all angles at this oceanfront perch located at the Soundview Motel, which is why Hobley suggests reserving a table at sunset for maximum impact. As if the atmosphere weren’t alluring enough, chef Stephan Bogardus, formerly of Northfork Table & Inn, will tempt your taste buds with swordfish and scallops, farmhouse salads and vegetarian bowls. Start the date off on the right foot with a cocktail like Moondog, a tangy blend of Plymouth Gin, St. George Raspberry Brandy, Amar Abano and lemon, Hobley said.
Black llama bar
300 Main Street, Greenport
Hours: Mon 5 pm-10pm T, W, TH 5 pm-9pm Fri 5 pm-10pm, Sat 12 pm-10pm, Sun 12 pm-9pm,
Raise your glass of love at this mixology dream spot, located next to the trendy hotel, American Beech. The Black Llama Bar is Hobley’s favorite haunt for intimate occasions. Choose from a wide range of local wines, beers, bubbles and exclusive drinks like their sangria / watermelon jelly, a hybrid blend of strawberries, lemon, sugar, rosé, vodka served as a watermelon vodka float, or their Stirling Smoke, a mixture of mezcal, lemonade and matcha. Book a table in advance, as weekend nights tend to fill up.
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.
234 Carpenter Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Hours: Sun-Thu 12 pm-7pm, Sat and Sun 12 pm-8pm
There’s no room for awkward silence in this bustling Greenport brewery, which is still a scene on the weekends, but has a new beer garden designed for casual first dates that won’t get you covered. not shout to be heard. Check their website for a list of other upcoming events, including weekly quiz nights.
Little Creek Oysters
Bootleg Alley, 37 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
Hours: Closed Tuesday and Wednesday, open Monday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday-Sun from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Admire the moon and harbor lights on a platter of freshly shucked oysters at this intimate cabin, overlooking the water in Greenport. Yes, oysters have a reputation for being aphrodisiac, but so does a quiet table for two away from the hustle and bustle of Front Street, a perfect setting to get to know someone better.
Love Lane Kitchen
240 Love Ln, Mattituck, NY 11952
Hours: 7 days / week Tue-Thursday 8 p.m.-4 p.m., Fri-Sun 8 p.m.-9 p.m.
This cozy country-style restaurant in Mattituck doesn’t have the word “love” in its name for nothing. Hobley said this place is made for brunches (they serve until 2 p.m., every day of the week) without the big stakes of an entire evening. Share their generous breakfast tacos, lemon ricotta pancakes or Belgian waffles – with mimosas, of course.
PUT A RING ON
Northfork Table and Inn
57225 Main Rd, Southold, NY 11971
Hours: Closed Mon and Tue, Wed and Thu 5 pm-10pm, Fri and Sat 5 pm-10.30pm, Sun 5 pm-10pm
If you’re up to the question, dazzle your date with a dinner prepared by Michelin-starred chef John Fraser at the Northfork Table & Inn. Before you nibble the night away by candlelight, fix your eyes on their Stone Fruit Old Fashion, a seductive blend of candied peaches, plums, cherries, Four Roses single, lovingly prepared by Hobley’s favorite mixologist. “Melody[MF2] is one of the best bartenders in the country, not just in New York City, ”said Hobley, adding that sitting side by side at the bar is a good way to ease the nervousness of big dates. “Melody will actually help you make the date less awkward. ”
5120 Sound Ave, Riverhead, NY 11901
Hours: Mon-Thu 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fri 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat and Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A lush vineyard – without a bachelerotte feast – but with fresh bubbles on hand is a sure way to get a “yes”. “All the picnics at the Palmer vineyard are wonderful because they allow us to settle down [their picnic experiences] on the lawn or in the vines. It’s so private and beautiful, ”Emma said. Sparkling not your thing? Try their 2020 Sauvignon Blanc if you like white wine, or the 2015 Old Roots Merlot, “a deep, velvety red, which comes from their original planted vines and is hand harvested,” she said. Walk-in people are welcome, as long as you don’t invite all of your friends.
1410 Manhanset Avenue, Greenport, NY 11944
Nothing takes your breath away more than sailing under a pink North Fork sky and a diamond. If that’s what you’ve got in mind, Emma suggests Layla Sailing, which offers two-hour sunset cruises ($ 700) that include ice, water, blankets, a speaker. Bluetooth, as well as cutlery, plates, cups and other serving platters and utensils. Bring your own picnic basket, sweaters and of course your phone to capture the magical moment. “If you want to create romance, they’re going to bring it in,” Hobley said. For more information or to book your charter, visit laylasailing.com.
Kontokosta wine estate
825 North Road, Greenport, NY 11944
Hours: Sun-Fri 11 am-5pm, Sat 11 am-6pm
Stroll through the vineyards as the sun soaks in the Sound at Kontokosta Winery, which Hobley calls a magical place to celebrate special birthdays or big dates. Sample one of North Fork’s best Sauvignon Blancs or Viogniers as you stroll along the cliffs for a date to remember.