Riverhead town and chamber of commerce officials gathered outside PeraBell on East Main Street yesterday with the eatery's owners and staff. Courtesy photo

The much-anticipated opening of PeraBell East Food Bar in downtown Riverhead this summer was one of the few new-business openings not to be marked by the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

The owners wanted it that way. “We wanted to get open, iron out the kinks, make sure everything was right before we did an official grand opening,” explained PeraBell partner John Peragine.

But then business happened. In a big way.

PeraBell partners John Peragine and Scotti Campbell at their Patchogue location in October 2014, right after they purchased the former Cody’s site on Main Street in Riverhead. File photo: Peter Blasl

Things got so busy at the restaurateur’s new location, the summer flew by and fall is doing the same, Peragine said yesterday. When two other Main Street restaurants — Mazi and Sonoma Grill — recently had ribbon-cutting ceremonies, it reminded Peragine that his own “official” opening had slipped through the cracks. So he contacted the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce last week to do something about it.

“I really just wanted to say thank you,” Peragine said. “The town has been great and I appreciate everything they’ve done, especially Deputy Supervisor Jill Lewis, to help make our opening here smooth and successful,” he said.

The new restaurant quickly became a local favorite after it opened its doors in June.

“Business in Riverhead has exceeded our expectations,” Peragine said. “The summer was great and so far the fall season has been great. There’s been a lot of nice events to give downtown restaurants a boost,” he said, pointing to the Country Fair, the Oktoberfest pub crawl and the Poe Festival as three events this fall that helped pack the house.

Supervisor Sean Walter, Councilman John Dunleavy, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and members of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce stood outside PeraBell to present Peragine and his staff with a proclamation, wish them success and cheer them on. The restaurant served food and refreshments after the ceremony.

Peragine said yesterday he believes Riverhead is on its way to having “a booming Main Street.”

Peragine and his business partner Scotti Campbell opened the original PeraBell Food Bar in Patchogue nine years ago, when Patchogue’s downtown was “dead.” He told RiverheadLOCAL last October that Riverhead today reminds him of Patchogue Village just as it was about to blossom. Banking on that potential, Peragine and Campbell bought the former Cody’s site, completely renovated it and opened for business in June.

They’ve not been disappointed, he said yesterday.

“I’m glad we’re here and glad to be a part of it,” Peragine said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.