Vintner Theresa Dilworth's dream of pairing her own wine with locally-grown food in a bistro setting will soon become a reality within the next few weeks, she hopes.
Comtesse Thérèse Bistro, the first vineyard-owned restaurant on the North Fork, was supposed to open this summer on Route 25 just east of Church Lane in Aquebogue. But the bistro's debut was, once again, delayed by various permitting issues — par for the course for Dilworth, who bought the property in 2004.
"I've been renovating ever since," said Dilworth, a tax attorney by trade who also owns Le Clos Thérèse Vineyard on Union Avenue in Aquebogue. "We've been doing a lot of work here."
With help from executive chef Ari Pavlou, Dilworth has spent the last six years turning a former saddlery, originally built in the 1830s as a church rectory, into a unique and intimate restaurant with a European flare.
Chef Pavlou, a native of Greece who has worked in kitchens all over the world, has created a French Mediterranean-style menu relying on only local ingredients from farmstands, fishermen, neighboring Crescent Duck Farm, and from the bistro's own extensive herb garden.
Pavlou, who teamed with Dilworth about three years ago, said he's ready for the restaurant to roll.
"We've been telling everyone three weeks for the past two years," Pavlou said. "We didn't expect it to take this long."
Stay tuned for coverage of Comtesse Thérèse Bistro's opening and a review of the restaurant.