All about Chef JoJo’s Cookshop, opening this summer in Bay Shore


“I think I’m the only chef that never wanted a restaurant.”

So says Joanna Siegel of Islip, an East Islip High School graduate and lifelong private chef who’s spent two decades preparing meals in Hamptons kitchens.

Yet she knew all along she wanted to do something for herself, eventually.

“It just took awhile to figure it out,” she said with a laugh.

Well, now she knows. And the Bay Shore area is about to experience it all — from farm-fresh produce and dairy, freshly baked bread, locally sourced steak, poultry, seafood and much more.

But the pièce de résistance at Chef JoJo’s Cook Shop, which she’ll be opening this summer in the old Dynasty Café on Union Avenue, will be the prepared meals.

And she is making this vow:

“You will put it in the oven, and it will taste like a chef just made it for you.”

How it happened

Chef JoJo’s Cookshop has been in the works since 2022 and is almost ready for its big debut. (courtesy)

When you’re cooking regularly for Hamptonites — along with their guests who might have, shall we say, discerning taste — one of the most important aspects of preparation is the shopping.

So Siegel got to know her farm stands, such as East Hampton Town’s renowned Round Swamp Farm, and Olish Farms in Eastport, to name just two.

And, she got to know the vendors, the bakers, butchers, beekeepers and seafood distributors.

Her “aha” moment came, eventually, after repeatedly opening fridges before dinner parties only to find the family had stocked up on prepared meals from the local farm stand for their stay out East.

“Then I thought, I could do that, only better,” she told us.

So Siegel started looking for the perfect spot, and soon inked a deal in 2022 for the Dynasty Café building. The longstanding luncheonette had closed after 34 years in business in March 2018. The building had sat vacant since.

But there was much work to be done after all that time, with lots of required updating and permitting, Siegel said.

But the trek is almost over. Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on the exterior and re-landscaping and surfacing the property. The doors will open sometime this summer.

The place will be barely recognizable from the prior luncheonette, she said.

What’s in store

Plenty of sweet treats will be on hand at the Cookshop in Bay Shore, too. (courtesy)

The space, just shy of 800 square feet, was split in two, with a brand-new kitchen in the rear highlighted by an 18-foot cook line. But you’ll enter into the market, in the front half.

Siegel will take the lead on conceiving the rotating to-go menus, with she and two other chefs that she’s hired tweaking the dishes and executing.

They’ll also be taking suggestions for future menu items.

Chef JoJo’s Cookshop won’t be offering trays of food, as with traditional caterers, but customers could certainly buy plenty of food for a small dinner party at their house if they’re looking to impress.

Steaks will be at the ready and packaged in the market, as well as pasture-raised chicken, local shellfish and seasonal fish filets.

And ingredients.

Plenty of ingredients, most from farms and dairy farms within the state.

Style wise, Siegel wasn’t looking to go over-the-top on a Hamptons feel. The space was vanilla when she got the keys, so she went with a copper and green look for a French countryside vibe.

“It’s also a little Hamptons-ish, but not overkill,” she said.

“It’s not me bringing the Hamptons here; it’s just bringing the farms here.”

In the future, she’ll be looking to host chef’s table private dining experiences for 4 to 6 guests at a time.

“Once the meals are moving and everything else, we’ll implement that,” she said.

The ultimate goal is to offer clean, local and fresh eating options for busy locals, and perhaps those looking to pack away dinners for a weekend or an entire week across the bay on Fire Island.

It’ll also be a great spot to pick up a hostess gift on the way to a party, she said.

“Let’s say you were going to a dinner party and you wanted to bring something different,” she said, “it’ll be a great place to pick up a cheese board, charcuterie board. Or we’ll fill a basket with items from the pantry,” she said.

“And we have really good coffee. So come in and get a nice cup of coffee.” 

Click here follow her journey on Instagram, or scroll down.

Top: Chef JoJo’s Cookshop is expected to open this summer at 1895 Union Blvd. in Bay Shore. Inset: Joanna Siegel of Islip, lifelong chef and East Islip High School graduate. (courtesy photos)

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