Turning 50 has a way nudging a man to do whatever it takes to make a lifelong dream become reality.
Case in point: Michael Panarello, a veteran chef from Sayville.
Panarello told GreaterSayville.com that reaching the half-century mark on Earth created a sense of urgency to “get in business finally” for himself. So, some time this year — and perhaps as soon as this summer — the Dowling College graduate will open up Crosstown Chef on North Main Street at the eastern end of Sayville.
“I’m a relatively new Sayville resident — three years — and I couldn’t think of a better place that I’d like to live and work,” said Panarello, who has operated Crosstown Chef as a ghost kitchen for the last year. “The town has embraced me and my cooking, and I’d like to be local to keep that relationship going.”
Crosstown Chef will fill the void left behind at 399 N. Main St. by the closure of Fancy Nancy Country Store. Panarello said his store will serve up hot food ready to eat and salads and sandwiches made to order, along with grab-n-go salads, sandwiches, desserts, snacks and healthy items. The food will be made on premises for folks on the run. Though there will some seating at the front of the store, he said.
“We will have food for every type of eater, health conscious, vegetarian, vegan … so everyone can enjoy what we serve,” Panarello explained. “We will also be offering and delivering family meals from a menu that will change daily.”
Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar said the chamber is thrilled that Crosstown Chef will now have a physical location in Sayville.
“Crosstown has been one of the favorite delivery eateries, and now more people can share in this incredible chef’s culinary delights,” Tyznar said. “During COVID, Michael kept on going, making many deliveries of his beautifully prepared chef style food to so many people in our town. I for one will never forget Michael’s generosity when he fed my family while I was ill with COVID.”
When it came to picking a location for his first brick and mortar store, Sayville was a no brainer, he said.
“Sayville is a town of wonderful people that love to eat,” said Panarello, who grew up in Lindenhurst. “There are some great places to eat, and I wanted to be another place that offers great food at reasonable prices.”
Panarello said Crosstown Chef will be open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday. He might open it on Sundays, but just for catering services. The schedule is a work in progress, he said.