Saturday, January 28, 2012

Maureen's Kitchen, Smithtown, LI, NY

I'm sitting at my table with Rob and Susan on the wraparound porch at Maureen's Kitchen in Smithtown, waiting for my pistachio pancakes to arrive any minute. I've been told by our server, Carolyn, that this is the only place that serves up these unusual pancakes.

The original Maureen's Kitchen in 1985 photo
   It is known by the regulars as the best breakfast place in Suffolk County, but Maureen's also serves lunch. They have daily specials that make your mouth water. This is the third time for Rob and Susan and each time they've gone there, they've always had something different.

Maureen Dernbach started serving breakfast and lunch from this small house in 1985. The tiny kitchen could only hold 10 people. When it burned down eleven years later, she moved across the street and built the lovely Victorian house we ate in today.   You can see the house in the picture below.

These days, it is run by son Kevin and daughter Christine and it's a thriving business.  They are open Monday through Friday from 7 am until 3 pm.
Present day Maureen's Kitchen across the street built in 1996
Rob and Susan visited for the second time last Wednesday.  They arrived around 11:30 and, although it was crowded, there was no wait at all.  Although we were able to pick where we wanted to sit, we were given seats inside the restaurant.

But this cannot be said for Saturday and Sunday.  The hours over the weekend start at 7 am and end at 1:45.  This morning, we arrived a little after 8 in the morning and, again, although it was crowded, we were able to get a seat on the coveted wraparound porch.  As we were on our way out, we noticed a group people waiting in their small, but heated waiting area.  My recommendation is DO NOT ARRIVE AFTER 10, especially on Sunday, if you do not like to wait.  It can be up to an hour wait after that time. 
The waiting area.  The entrance to the wraparound porch is through the door straight in front.The entrance to the restaurant is on your right

The wraparound porch
Maureen's is decorated in what I like to call early cow.  There are cows all over the place, from the tablecloths and chair coverings to the motorcycle in the waiting room.  There are cows all over the place, on the walls, on the shelves, outside the restaurant and inside the bathrooms. Christine tells us that these cows are donated from people from everywhere.  

The counter and inside seating area

Inside the restaurant from another angle

Carolyn, our server, went out of her way to recommend the pistachio pancakes and Jerry, the head waiter, was very kind and informative.  He answered all our questions about the history of the restaurant and whatever he didn't know, he recommended to ask Christine or Kevin.  

Very moderately priced, Maureen's Kitchen does do great breakfast and was very helpful and patient with us this morning.  Another recommendation is the croissant french toast and the special.  It is different and delicious and not to be missed. It goes along with those great pistachio pancakes that we had this morning. 
I have included this link to yelp at the bottom of the page. Unfortunately, there is no online menu.  If I do come across one, I will add it.

Tons of reviews from yelp



Monday, January 2, 2012

Walter's Hot Dog Stand, Mamaroneck, NY

Happy 2012 everyone.  Yes, it's been a long time since I've updated this blog, but I'm back now, thanks to many requests.

Susan, Rob and I took a trip upstate this afternoon after reading about a small hot dog stand called Walter's Hot Dogs in Mamaroneck, NY. This is not to be missed.  It has been called the best hotdog in the world and they aren't kidding.

Here I am enjoying their sweet potato fries which are very different than regular fries. Basically it's a sweet potato fried in a tempura batter, so there is still real potato inside.  Their hotdogs are delicious.  Susan had a Puppy Dog, which is half a hot dog and Rob had a regular size.  They are split and grilled and absolutely delicious. Their fabulous mustard, which uses special ingredients and they make themselves, is out of this world.  

Walter's is a local favorite and when I say favorite I mean it.  When we arrived at 11:30 am, the place wasn't open yet.  We pulled around to park and ran into Kelly  who is engaged to marry Chistine, who is Eugene's daughter, Walter's son.  He opened the place at 11:45 and within 15 minutes, a small line of 15 people formed.  By the time we finished, the place was busy with orders to stay or to go. It is truly a hot dog stand and is open every day, winter, summer, spring or fall with picnic tables on the side you can eat at.

Many of the people we spoke to have been coming here for over 5 years, some over 50.  Many said that it was family tradition.  This stand, very eye catching from its Palmer Street location, was established in 1928.  But it's not the original stand which was on Boston Post Road where business actually started in 1919.  Walter Warrington started off selling apples and apple cider from his own orchard in Quaker Ridge. He moved south of Post Road where he began selling his unique style hotdogs which are a mixture of pork and beef.and are split and grilled.  When the property was condemned, he purchased the Palmer Street location and has been here ever since.  It is now run by Walter's son, Eugene, and there is a picture you can catch from 2001 on their website, which I will include at the bottom in my links section.

  Their house is in back of the stand and can be seen from the parking lot also located in the back of the stand.  It is pictured here on the left. 

Walter's Hot Dog Stand has also been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 2010 and has a sign to prove it. It will be unveiled sometime in the warmer months, but I have a sneak preview which is exclusive to this blog.

The building itself, a pagoda with dragon style hanging lamps, has been declared a National Landmark and listed on the County Inventory of Historic Places as typifying a 1920's roadside stand since 1991.  It has also been mentioned in Road Side Delights and is also featured in Drive I-95 in their 2004 edition.   

Here I am by the plaque
 This fabulous landmark eatery is not to missed.  We ended up buying four more hot dogs to bring home and also sampled their curly fries.  Their hot dogs are one of a kind and the workers are friendly and will answer any and all of your questions without a problem.  This is one place that I highly recommend if you are in the Westchester area.

Here are my usual links

The official site.  Full of wonderful postcards and photos and a wonderful history of the stand.  All in all one great site.

Wikipedia article with lots of links on the bottom.

Here are a few more photos: