Old Fields owner opening modern Italian restaurant in Stony Brook this spring


The name and precise menu items are still under wraps but the newest venture by Old Fields restaurateur David Tunney is expected to open by late spring in the former Pentimento spot in Stony Brook.

And he’s promising it will be a completely different experience.

“We’re going full-tilt,” Tunney said. “We spared no expense.”

While the name is unannounced — “For the moment,” he teased — the style will be Modern Italian, offering freshly made pasta. It’s something very different from the restaurants Tunney is generally known for.

Old Fields in Greenlawn and Port Jefferson both menus replete with American fare, including steaks and seafood. And you don’t get any more American than a barbeque joint, of which Tunney has two, one in Setauket and another in Huntington. His most recent restaurant, Ella’s in Huntington, comes close but he promises this newest place will be a different scene.

When he took over the space at 93 Main Street, Tunney said that it was stripped bare, giving him and his team an opportunity to start from scratch. A complete renovation with all new equipment, floors and aesthetic. He imagines clean lines, a lighter color palate in the decor than his other restaurants, and what he calls a “cool vibe.”

They were inspired by city restaurants that they visited to conduct research.

“We were in Michelin star restaurants in New York City getting our vibe on,” he said.

Inside, the plan is to have seating for about 80, with an outdoor dining area adding an additional 25 to 30 chairs.

While Tunney said that he is designing and developing the new restaurant himself, he credits his entire team for pulling it together, including his head chef, Luke DeSanctis, and Rory Van Nostrand, his restaurant manager who has been with him since he was a busboy at Honu.

“I couldn’t do it without them,” he said.

Last summer, the owners of Pentimento announced on Facebook that they were closing their doors after 27 years in business. Tunney, who grew up in the area and graduated from Ward Melville High School, took over the space and decided it was time for a place just like the one he envisions.

“These are my stomping grounds,” he said. “And I know that this town needs a really good restaurant.”