After a trip to Philly, a Long Island restaurateur might consider opening a cheesesteak joint. Indeed, many have.
But not John Sarno.
He and his wife enjoy annual trips to football and baseball games around the country. Last year found them in Philagelphia for an Eagles game, after which the couple dined at Alpen Rose steakhouse.
“I ran out of sports bar ideas so I said, ‘Why not try a steakhouse?'” said Sarno, 47, of Patchogue.
And on Friday, the trio celebrated the grand opening of Chops at 38 W. Main St., the prior home of Flo’s Luncheonette.
As guests entered, they flashed back a century, to the Prohibition era.
Beyond the front door hangs a red curtain, concealing the speakeasy-esque time capsule within. Old photographs adorn walls, red leather chairs line the bar and dry-aged porterhouses and filets sizzle in the kitchen.
Outside, a signal beckons anyone seeking a trendy hideaway.
“When you walk down here at night and it’s blacked out, we have the red light on at night that let’s people know we’re raring to go,” Sarno said. “Whenever we’re open for business, [the light] is on.”
Sarno hopes his latest venture encourages diners to look their sharpest for a special night out.
The modern man may wear casual attire on a night out, at a ballgame or on an airplane, but suits clung to gentlemen for most any occasion during the ’20s and ’30s.
Instead of three piece suits, Sarno hopes to see diners looking sharp in business casual attire. (If they want to wear three piece suits, that’s great, too.)
Though one special night coming winter, guests will be asked to dress era-appropriate.
“On Dec. 5, we’re going to do an annual end of Prohibition event,” Sarno said. “We’ll have burlesque dancers, people will be all-out dressed from the roaring ’20s.”
The date marks the anniversary of Prohibition’s end, which happened Dec. 5, 1933.
Top: Chops co-owner John Sarno sipping a drink behind the bar on Friday. (Nicholas Grasso)
Scroll down for more photos from Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at Chops.