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Ivy Kitchen and Bar is Huntington’s trendy new Italian restaurant

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For social media marketing wiz Zack Barrotta, what’s trending is everything.

A lifelong resident of Huntington, Barrotta knew the area’s downtown nightlife was fertile soil for a new restaurant. That said, he strove for a vibe that broke away from much of the town’s scene.

“I wanted to do something that was trendy, modern, new,” Barrotta, 28, said. “Huntington has a lot of pubs, old bars. We want to do something new here — to feel like you’re not in Huntington.”

Barrotta, his youngest brother Michael, and his childhood friend, Ryan DiPaola, opened the Ivy Kitchen and Bar at 65 Wall St. in November.

While he brought social media savvy to the fold, Barrotta said his brother’s analytical mind for business and DiPaola’s hands-on experience opening his own restaurants — Shrimpy’s Burrito Bar locations in Huntington and Massapequa — rounded out a diverse team.

Their new Italian-American restaurant boasts a sleek design, from its wall-long cushioned seating to its lavender backlit bar and dining room wall fixtures.

As the name suggests, the Instagram-ready ivy decorum that drapes down from above secures the restaurant’s status as a fashion-forward new kid on the block.

The name “Ivy” is not only a nod to the popular design trend. It is also an homage to the bond Barrotta and his three brothers share. Their group chats are labeled “IV,” the Roman numeral for four.

‘Phones eat first’

Social media worthiness cannot stop at interior design. Barrotta said the dishes coming out of the kitchen needed to pop. He posts pictures and videos of his chefs creates regularly, and he knows he needs his diners to follow in suit.

“Phones eat first,” he said. “Your eyes eat first, you see something you like, you want to take a picture of it. We wanted this place to be kind of lead by social media in a sense.”

Barrotta said the restaurant’s various steaks and salads, from its tomahawk ribeye to its beet salad, are among its most photogenic dishes.

Ivy’s top seller, the cheekily misspelled and intricately garnished Barrotta rigatoni, also gets its fair share of shutter clicks.

“They literally are putting pieces of burrata on the Barrotta with tweezers and stuff,” Barrotta said.

Looking forward to the spring

In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrotta said the restaurant has faired well since its Thanksgiving Eve opening.

Ivy operates as a dinner spot, while catering to the bar scene with DJs and dancing on weekend nights. But it does not plan to stick to one or two models for long.

Barrotta has expanded the dining options to brunch. He is also gearing up for more changes down the line.

“We wanted to open up and do one thing at a time, start with dinner, then add brunch,” he said. “We’ll add live music, we’re gonna add entertainment. We want to do happy hour. We have a great patio that we’ll be able to open up, so I’m excited for that for springtime.”

“If this thing is a good model, we would try to bring something like this into different towns or locations,” Barrotta added.