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American Cheese returns to Sayville, set to open by July 10 inside Thornhill’s building

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Just over a year to the day it closed its popular gourmet cheese-focused eatery on Railroad Avenue, American Cheese is set to re-open — this time inside the refurbished Thornhill’s Pharmacy building in the heart of downtown Sayville.

By this weekend, American Cheese will start operating on the first floor of the historic building at 2 Main St., alongside Sayville N Spice.

Loyal fans who’ve been salivating for this day for months and months will be happy to know that the eatery is bringing back all of the old favorites — i.e. the amazing fig and honey goat cheese — along with new cheese choices from France, Spain and Italy.

“We’re very excited to get back to it,” said Erin Nicosia-Lennon, who owns American Cheese with her husband Christian. “We love getting a really nice product to our customers, something that they’re not going to get anywhere else.”

Crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lennons closed the Railroad Avenue spot in June 2020, after a seven-year run there. Before that, they operated in West Sayville for three years.

“COVID set us back, but we’re making our comeback,” Nicosia-Lennon, 41, said, while noting that re-opening somewhere in Sayville was always the couple’s goal.

The opportunity came when Sayville N Spice owners Matthew and Lauri La Piana decided this spring to share the first-floor space with another business. Sayville N Spice opened last year, just in time for the holidays.

The La Pianas purchased the two-story building in March 2019, and did a complete renovation that included new electrical work, plumbing and lighting. In doing so, the couple retained the building’s historic charm inside and restored the iconic neon Thornhill’s sign outside.

“We’re going to do a lot of collaborations with Matt and Lauri, producing our own signature blends of their spices and our cheese,” said Nicosia-Lennon, a Sayville High School alumna (Christian, 50, is originally from Bayport).

To get to the artisanal cheese and cured meat experience offered up by American Cheese, customers will need to first stroll through Sayville N Spice’s gauntlet of savory spices and tempting hot sauces.

Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar said she is delighted to have American Cheese back in town — and this time, on Main Street.

“The experienced and talented cheesemongers compliment the other culinary delights offered on Main Street, such as Down the Rabbit Hole, The Sayville Chocolatier, The Crushed Olive and Sayville N Spice,” she said. “Now, people can experience everything their pallet desires — with all of these places being within just a few feet of each other.”

What American Cheese won’t have this time around is a kitchen. So their awesome grilled cheese sandwiches are out for now. They also won’t have a seating area; on Railroad Avenue, they had room to sit 40 diners.

But the Lennons are excited to be returning to their roots as a small shop — just like the West Sayville store they operated from 2010-2013 — as they get back on their feet.

Nicosia-Lennon said she and her husband have started planning for a cheese pairing event that would involve Down the Rabbit Hole wine shop (located next door), The Crushed Olive and other downtown stores.

“We want to bring that gourmet experience back to Sayville,” she said.

Photo above: Christian and Erin Lennon (courtesy of American Cheese).