River Walk Bar and Grille partner John Molesi hopes to open his new riverfront restaurant on Labor Day weekend. Photo: Denise Civiletti

A new restaurant will soon open its doors in the Summerwind building in the space formerly occupied by Joe’s Garage.

Restaurant industry veteran John Molesi hopes to open River Walk Bar and Grille on Labor Day weekend.

Molesi, former longtime chef and manager of the Triangle Pub in Eastport, says he knows that’s an ambitious goal but he’s already working hard to get it done.

Molesi plans to transform the race car-themed restaurant into a space with a nautical theme.

“I’m going to lighten things up a lot. We’ll give the walls a fresh coat of paint, an aqua color,” he said today, pointing to the walls currently sporting black paint.

Molesi says his new restaurant will offer casual American fare with an emphasis on seafood. There will be classic pub fare like hearty burgers made with freshly ground beef and marinated steak tidbits, along with grilled-to-order steak and chops to compliment shellfish and fresh-caught fish dishes.

“We’ll make all our foods, including our soups, from scratch, every day,” said Molesi. River Walk will not be serving frozen, reheated meals, he said.

“During the day we’ll have a lunch menu and service that will get people in and out in 30 minutes, start to finish,” he said. It will include burgers, sandwiches and wraps.

The Center Moriches resident, 42, is the father of four. His wife Kristine will be the “front of the house manager,” he said.

“I’ve been in the business all my life,” Molesi said. He started working at the Triangle Pub when he was 13. “I’ve always wanted my own place. I couldn’t be more excited about this. The location is great, the space itself is great.”

Molesi said his philosophy is to give customers great-tasting food at an affordable price.

“I want this to be the kind of place people can go to two or three times a week,” he said, “not once a month or just for special occasions.”

Consistent quality and a consistently great experience are crucial in a restaurant, which is why hands-on operation by a veteran in the business is important, he said.

Molesi has a partner, Steve Glauber, backing him, but it will be Molesi who will be the “hands-on guy running things.”

Joe’s Garage opened in March 2014 and closed its doors in December.

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Denise Civiletti
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.