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High-end steakhouse Chops in the works for Patchogue; opens this winter

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Chops Steakhouse Patchogue

Main Street is finally getting a high-end steakhouse.

So many locals and frequent visitors to Patchogue have been clamoring for this, and it’s coming in the form of Chops, the brainchild of John Sarno (pictured above), the owner of three Village Idiot restaurants in Suffolk County, as well as Drift 82 on the Patchogue River.

Sarno said he and his wife Shannon were enjoying a magical night at the Alpen Rose steakhouse on 13th Street in Philadelphia this September when his “wheels got to turning.”

“It was so intimate, around 12 tables, a six-person bar, and the steak was outstanding,” he recalled. “The ambience was very welcoming, dimly lit, it had a kind of Prohibition style.

“Then I got to thinking, what does Patchogue need? The answer is a steakhouse,” he added.

Sarno, who opened the first Village Idiot Pub on East Main Street 11 years ago this month, quickly zeroed in on the former Flight and Flo’s Luncheonette location at 38 W. Main Street.

Flo’s, which still has its landmark seasonal location in Blue Point, had been vacant since about the start of the pandemic. The space itself was always beautiful, Sarno said; it just needs some aesthetic changes and upgrades for Chops.

The motif will be dim, vintage, yet outrageously elegant.

He’s looking to open in January.

Sarno has recruited his beloved GM at Drift 82, Fred Norden, as well as Luis Juarez, Drift’s executive chef, and his longtime executive chef at VIP, Edwin Hernandez, as partners. Each of them has extensive experience at steakhouses across Long Island and New York City.

David Kennedy, the executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce and a lifelong Patchogue resident, is among those champing at the bit for the opening of Chops.

“This is going to be something that we haven’t seen in the area outside of Chachama Grill,” which is in East Patchogue, Kennedy said. “It sounds like something that’s going to be Michelin star-rated and cater to a clientele of people who love good food, take it very seriously and will be willing to pay a premium price for it.

“If that’s the crowd they’re able to attract to Patchogue, we’ll all be better off for it.”

Sarno is talking traditional steakhouse in every form, complete with a dress code and rare, high-end wines, dark spirits and tequilas.

He’s also talking all dry-aged steaks including tomahawks, filets and porterhouses for two, as well as a few seafood options and a chicken entrée — along with the classic wedge salad. Then there are the a’la carte sides meant for sharing, such as mashed and baked potatoes, and creamed spinach, to name just a few.

“I’m taking what I already know about restaurants and service and relying on these guys [his partners] to take the food to an entirely different level,” Sarno said. “Expectations will be high. And I expect them to nail it.”