The Hero Joint owner John Murray, III, was sitting on a dock in Massachusetts some 15 years ago, waiting to hop aboard a friend’s boat.
That’s when he bit into a sandwich his buddy had suggested.
“He had said, you gotta try this,” Murray recalled.
It was called The Gobbler, and it was like Thanksgiving in a sandwich. Yet it was the middle of July.
But there was Murray, smiling like a child, his legs dangling off the dock under the high heat.
“I thought, this is the coolest thing ever,'” he said. “Then I said to myself, if I ever open my own sandwich shop I will replicate this to the best of my ability. That was around 2007.”
In September 2018, Murray opened The Hero Joint in Patchogue, and made good on his promise.
“The Bird,” as he calls his version of the Thanksgiving sandwich, firmly and quickly planted itself among the most popular items on the menu.
It’s packed with in-house-roasted turkey, house-made cranberry sauce and house-made stuffing on marbled sourdough bread.
“People absolutely love it and, like me, they eat it all year round,” he said.
For fall he supplies plenty of pumpkin beer on tap to wash it all down.
wait, there’s more
In pursuit of his passion for Thanksgiving in the kitchen, Murray says he “Frankensteined” a turkey soup in 2020 that just months later won first place in a big Patchogue soup contest before the pandemic.
“It has grown into a monstrous hit for us,” he added with a wink.
“People have said I should license it out to a major soup company, we have people buy it by the quart, buy it for Thanksgiving,” he said.
It’s a cream-based soup with a gravy taste, with stuffing, turkey and Craisins.
He promises a large cup of this soup will keep you full for hours, even after that initial endorphin rush.
“It basically tastes like the puddle on your plate at the end of Thanksgiving dinner,” he said.
The Hero Joint ships trays of The Bird and turkey soup all over Suffolk each fall, even making three-foot Bird heroes instead of using the traditional marbled sourdough. In its four years in Patchogue, The Hero Joint’s catering system has only been refined, and Murray says “it’s busier than ever.”
“The oversized Bird hero is a great addition to any gathering,” he said. Call 631-636-0500 for inquiries.
The Hero Joint is located at 74 B East Main Street. Its front door faces the rear parking lot between the Patchogue-Medford Library and Village Cigar Headquarters. The Hero Joint is also accessible through Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream, which is located on East Main across from Patchogue Theatre for Performing Arts.
top photo by Satin Widrow