Cheers In Farmingdale

0
383

Library Café marks 20 years on Main Street

Library Café staff, from left: Dave Curran, Katie Weeks, Andrea Borreli and general manager Mike Di Troia
(Photo provided by the Library Café)

Farmingdale’s Library Café hit a recent milestone when it held a ribbon cutting on Friday, Oct. 16, celebrating its 20th anniversary. It’s quite an accomplishment when you consider that running a restaurant during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart given the combination of density restrictions, imposed curfews, staff furloughs and expenses incurred by restauranteurs pertaining to newly required disinfecting protocols. According to a report released by the National Restaurant Association on Sept. 14, one in six restaurants—or a total of 100,000 establishments nationwide—have “closed either permanently or long-term.”

Part of the Lessing’s Hospitality Group that includes Babylon’s Post Office Café, Cold Spring Harbor’s Sandbar and Oakdale’s View, the Library Café is located at 274 Main St. in the heart of the Village of Farmingdale. And while COVID-19 has proved to be quite a challenge, the restaurant hasn’t missed a beat, a well-deserved point of pride for general manager Mike Di Troia.
“We’ve been open the entire time,” Di Troia said. “We do a lot of takeout through third parties like Door Dash, Grub Hub and Over Eats. Once we opened up back in July or the end of June, a lot of our regulars started coming back. We did a lot of outdoor dining. The last couple of months it’s been great indoors. A lot of people have been coming back and supporting us by dining inside and outside, which is great.”

What makes this 3,000-square-foot eatery so unique is that when it first opened its doors back in 2000, it was transitioning from being the Village of Farmingdale Public Library. Not surprisingly, a number of aspects from the old space were incorporated into the current layout, making for a unique eating experience according to Di Troia.
“We have the original tin ceiling in the upstairs room along with the original ladder behind the bar, which is used to slide across the bar to pull bottles off the top shelf,” he explained. “My back bar is about 40 feet up in the air and the rear of it is all mirrored glass with liquor on it. It’s definitely the kind of trendy and good-looking place you’d find in Manhattan.”
But no matter how swanky a place may be, it comes down to the food, which in the case of this restaurant/bar, is classic American fare accentuated by robust cocktail and liquor offerings. Alongside burgers, sandwiches and fish dishes like miso glazed salmon, there are a number of specialty entrées and appetizers including crispy chicken ranch wraps, shrimp burrito bowls and mini-Reubens. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available. Di Troia’s favorite is the chicken bruschetta, which is two pan-fried chicken cutlets topped with tomato, onion, Kalamata olives, bruschetta, aged balsamic vinegar and rocket arugula.

A shot of the Library Café interior from up above

When asked what he attributes the restaurant’s longevity to, the Wantagh-born general manager is quick to point out his 25-person crew.
“I have been very lucky and fortunate to have such a great staff alongside me at the Library Café for the last 20 years,” Di Troia said. “We’ve been very lucky that most of my employees has been here if not for 20 years, maybe 12 or 15 years. Because of them we have become an integral part of our Farmingdale community and in the process, our customers, especially our regulars, have become family.”

It’s a sentiment Mark Lessing, executive vice president of the Lessing’s Hospitality Restaurant Division agrees with.
“Our customers who continue to be loyal to the Library Café for the past 20-years are incredibly special to us and we thank them for being a part of our Library Café family,” he said. “We look forward to another 20 years and longer.”

At a time when so many eateries are struggling to stay afloat, Di Troia admits that Farmingdale’s local officials and the loyalty of his devoted customer base has kept the Library Café going during these challenging times.
“The whole community has been very supportive from the beginning,” Di Troia said. “It’s a tight little town, which is great. We have a great mayor in Mayor Ralph. He’s extremely supportive of all the restaurants and is very much involved in the Farmingdale community, which helps merchants on Main Street. It’s a lot of great people and families that come in and dine with us. We have people that met here 20 years ago and now we’re throwing engagement parties and baby showers for them. It’s like Cheers in Farmingdale.

Visit www.thelibrarycafe.com or call 516-752-7678 to find out more about the Library Café.

 

Leave a Reply