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Look inside: LaLa’s Lounge brings Fire Island vibe to Bay Shore

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The revamped Swept Away — now bearing the name LaLa’s Lounge — is just off the beaten path of downtown Bay Shore. 

Once found, the Bayview Avenue restaurant is a taste of paradise for those who wisely choose to stick around.

LaLa’s Lounge is the latest restaurant venture for Andrew Tartaglia, a partner at Verde, Coastal and the Brightwaters Inn. For him and his girlfriend Leah Fernandes, creating LaLa’s Lounge became a true labor of love. 

“I love that aspect of all our restaurants, we do a lot of it ourselves,” Tartaglia said. “We really feel a part of the building and space because Leah is my partner. It’s our passion project down here.”

Fernandes added that the atmosphere is “super chill, come as you are.” 

“I feel really lucky to have this space to call our own,” she said. 

A ‘spring break’ project 

In April 2021, Tartaglia broke the news to GreaterBayShore that he and Fernandes were taking over the old Swept Away.

They wanted to jump into the business immediately and continued to operate as Swept Away for the rest of that year, but they maintained a plan to make the space their own. 

While the eatery closed this past winter, the owners reorganized the layout of the kitchen, built new tables and redecorated the front of the restaurant. 

“This year, we really put in the time and did it our way,” Tartaglia said. “It was fun, it was the two of us, my dad was helping out, and we were bonding as a family — at the end of the day, we would have a few drinks at the bar…it was kind of like our little winter clubhouse.” 

Fernandes, who is a school teacher, joked with Tartaglia that transforming the restaurant was her “spring break.” 

Originally, the eatery was going to be named “The Mainland,” but a combination of music, Chef Kevin Breeden’s hometown of Los Angeles, and the couple’s initials became the catalysts for “LaLa’s Lounge.”

“I’d be listening to my music, and every time a ‘Lala’ chorus came on, I would text Leah,” he said. “It was just so in my mind I really wanted to name the restaurant that … to encapsulate that musical vibe, our chef Kevin is from L.A., and we have an L and an A.”

The ‘Land of Yes’ 

Tartaglia said LaLa’s Lounge captures the tranquility and seaside feel of the Bay Shore Marina. 

Inspired by their Fire Island roots, Fernandes and Tartaglia molded a “beachy, laid back experience on the mainland.” 

Many of LaLa’s staff are old friends who worked together at The Island Mermaid and Maguire’s Bayfront Restaurant in their younger days.

The menu features specialties from both coasts, specifically California and Fire Island.

Chef Breeden created shareable snacks and plates that emulate the Los Angeles street food scene, such as the So-Cal guacamole, taquitos de elote, and the nachos, which are a crowd favorite, Fernandes said.

Customers can also choose from a variety of tacos, sammies, quesadillas and bowls.

As far as cocktails go, Ocean Beach drink staples the likes of Zippy’s and Rocket Fuels are available, as well as a selection of frozen drinks, margaritas and mojitos.

Tartaglia said the hope is to draw in a younger crowd with not only their food and drinks, but with the overall atmosphere.

Those coming down for a bite or a night out with friends can enjoy themselves with a game of pool in the back patio or darts in the main dining room.

Fernandes said she added hula hoops that her mom made to the outdoor area for kids to use.

“We want it to get a little younger, a little funner, and more enticing to our friends in our age group,” he said. “We tried to create light snackable stuff — save some room for drinking and dancing.”

A lounge of its own

In the 10 years he has lived in Bay Shore and across the bay, Tartaglia said he has grown to love the restaurants in downtown Bay Shore.

His hope for LaLa’s Lounge is for it to become an alternative spot for those looking to stray away from Main Street.

And although there are elements from Tartaglia’s other Bay Shore establishments infused in LaLa’s Lounge, he said the restaurants and their corresponding partners try to distinguish themselves from each other.

“We like it that people recognize the brand and they can trust that. It’s very important,” Tartaglia said. “But at the same time, we try to do things our way. Among the restaurant groups, it kind of becomes a friendly competition.”

Fernandes and Tartaglia plan to host various events at LaLa’s Lounge, such as their second annual Art Bayview festival this fall. Live music performances and burlesque shows are in the restaurant’s future as well, Tartaglia said.

The partners hope to become a “strong anchor” in the Bay Shore community and continue to be a go-to seasonal spot.

“We have some great people, young and old, down here every day,” Tartaglia said. “We see them more than we see our own families, it’s our little restaurant family.”

You can check out LaLa’s Lounge’s menu and event calendar on their website here. Follow them on Instagram for updates.

Scroll down to see more photos of LaLa’s Lounge, now open noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

Top: Andrew Tartaglia and Leah Fernandes inside of their new venture LaLa’s Lounge in Bay Shore. (Credit: Mike White)