The owner of JT’s on the Bay in Blue Point and his longtime head chef at the waterfront restaurant are just a few days from opening their new JT’s Café on Montauk Highway.
The partners took over the landmark Sage Café building on Jan. 1 and the space has been undergoing a makeover ever since.
They’re in the process of applying the finishing touches and will open sometime during the first week in March.
The new JT’s Café — located where Blue Point meets Bayport at the foot of Nicolls Road — will be open year-round for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We took this place over and we’re just trying to brighten it up and make it a fun atmosphere — and keep it hip,” said Frank Connestro, who will now serve as executive chef at both JT’s locations.
Connestro and his partner, Justin Tempelman, who opened JT’s on the Bay in 2007, both live in Blue Point.
“I was really good friends with [Sage Café owner] Jonathan Schwardon,” said Tempelman. “He knew for years that I wanted the place, and he wanted it to go to a local guy. I’ve lived in the neighborhood 14 years now. This place never even went on the market; Jonathan just called me up and told me it was time.”
This is Tempelman’s third restaurant under the JT’s brand.
His first restaurant was called JT’s Corner Cafe´, a popular breakfast and lunch spot he opened in his native Nesconset in 1998. He sold the business two years ago and it’s now called The Corner Café.
Tempelman, also a chef by trade, said his specialty had always been breakfast.
So the two partners are looking to put a lot of emphasis on a lively breakfast scene. To that end, they’ve already got a line of cereal dispensers up on the wall.
“That’s our sinful cereal wall,” Connestro said, outlining a menu that’s still in the works but that will feature its own Eggs Benedict section. The “eggs bennies” will come in six different styles.
The partners will also be blending the breakfast, dinner and lunch fare, all in a Southern style, so don’t be surprised if you find some home fries and waffles mixed in with your lunch and dinner dishes.
Perhaps the perfect example of this fusion is “The Dakota.” It’s a grilled chicken cobb sandwich served between two Belgian waffles, with cheddar cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato and bourbon-bacon jam.
“This is comfort food, a neighborhood spot to come, relax and just have a good time,” Connestro said, noting there will be a specialty milkshake menu as well, with the option for alcoholic shakes.
JT’s will also be open in time for the March 13 Bayport-Blue Point St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
To mark the occasion, they’ll be throwing an outdoor party with their friends from Blue Point Brewing Co, which is sending their boat, “Get Toasted” for a Boatyard Bash-style party outside the restaurant.
There’s also going to be a pipe band and a hot dog stand.
“It’s both of our hometowns now, and we wanted to do something nobody is doing down here,” Connestro said.
“We’re just trying to be different,” Tempelman said.
Photo: Frank Connestro and Justin Tempelman are looking to open in early March. (Michael White)