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Indu Kaur

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Photo from Kiran Wadhwa

After a fire devasted The Meadow Club more than two years ago, the family behind Setauket’s The Curry Club and Port Jefferson’s SāGhar felt like their world was falling apart. 

Known for its weddings in Port Jefferson Station, and being a structure on Route 112 for more than five decades, the building has been fixed and revamped. It’s a whole new sight. 

The Meadow Club’s new look. Photo from Kiran Wadhwa

“Our logo has always been a closed lotus, but the closed lotus represented the fire,” said Kiran Wadhwa, owner, creative director and event planner at the Meadow Club. “The lotus needs to open up and blossom — it represents rebirth, freshness and a peaceful, new environment.”

Wadhwa and her sister, Indu Kaur, took over the club in 2014. 

“We’re looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kaur said. “Two years ago, we thought we were done, but now we’re excited to bring our gem back to Suffolk County.”

The rebirth of The Meadow Club began after Kaur got the call her venue was a blaze in the early morning of July of 2018. Since then, she and her team had been working hard to get the property back in shape. “This is our legacy,’ Wadhwa said. “We want to leave this behind to our kids.”

But because the venue was so old and outdated, the process took longer than they initially thought. Kaur and Wadhwa had to redo the roof as well as add new air conditioners, sprinkler systems, floors and bathrooms. The permits prior to renovation were also outdated.

“We thought of everything,” Wadhwa said. “Everything we had issues with inside the old building, we fixed.”

Which worked in their favor. Although they didn’t disclose when the grand opening date is, construction is almost done and they’re starting to book weddings for 2021 and 2022.

“Everything is literally brand new,” Wadhwa said. “We build the new COVID guidelines into our construction.”

When one walks through the front door of the new Meadow Club, they are greeted with white walls and marble floors. Several crystal chandeliers hang from the ceilings in each room and the staircase, which was formerly to the right-hand side, now expands on the left. A waterfall is located at the bottom of the stairs, and a live-moss wall sits above it. They added handicap accessible restrooms to the space, redoing everything. 

The Meadow Club’s former look before its fire. Photo from Kiran Wadhwa

There are other changes, as well, including COVID-friendly additions the family made to their venue. Each of the three ballrooms now has their own exits and there is a new outdoor patio full of flowers and evergreens. Owners also installed sanitation stations throughout the property and have planned for sanitizing after each and every event. 

“We don’t want anyone to get sick,” Kaur said. “And we don’t want them to feel unsafe.”

As for the food, they are changing up the menu. They are adding a new chef who specializes in fine Italian cuisine, but also offer Pakistani and Indian food. They also made their kitchen completely Kosher. 

“We’re the only catering hall that offers Halal, Pakistani, Italian and Indian,” Wadhwa said. 

Although for now weddings must be at the 50-person limit, with no mingling, dancing or cocktail hour, the family said they are excited to bring this whole new space to couples walking down the aisle next year and beyond.

A family-owned business, they want their brides to feel special. 

“We’re accommodating and flexible,” Kaur said. “We personalize to each brides’ different needs.”

“I wait for the gasp,” Wadhwa added about the current tours they’re offering. “And I love seeing the look on their faces. The venue is brand new, clean and safe. It’ll be every brides’ dream come true.”

Completely redone by Ronkonkoma-based BELFOR Property Restoration, Project Manager Scott Sommerville said redoing the venue has been a journey. 

“It’s been the most wonderful transition from old to new,” he said. “We resurrected it.”

Though Many Still Prefer Safety of Outdoors

Tommy Marzano, a co-owner of Faradays of Smithtown, said more people prefer eating outside than in. Photo from Google maps

With Long Island entering Phase 3 of reopening, businesses are looking to bounce back and recover from the shutdown. Restaurant owners are hoping to take advantage of the addition of indoor dining during the summer months. Here’s how owners reacted to the first week of Phase 3. 

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce reminded residents their stores are open for Phase Two after a chamber meeting June 16. Photo by Joan Nickeson

“It has been going really smooth really, better than I expected,” said Indu Kaur, director of operations of The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station. 

At the family’s newest restaurant, SaGhar, on East Broadway in Port Jeff, the rooftop floor and patio has been very busy. Kaur said they plan on accommodating patrons who want indoor seating in the front room of the restaurant that is facing the water. The Curry Club, which the family also runs in Setauket, currently offers outdoor seating at its patio and will have limited indoor seating. 

“We will keep them six feet apart, there will be different entrances and exits for outdoor and indoor seating,” Kaur said. “For outdoor seating you will go down different staircases when you enter and leave. Also, we’ve placed hand sanitizers throughout the building.”

Kaur said they have gotten good feedback from customers on the outdoor dining layout at SaGhar. 

“They’ve told us they like the overall ambiance, the decoration of space and are enjoying the outdoor entertainment we are providing,” she said. “Business has started to come back.”

With the start of summer and the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Kaur said they will look to possibly increase tables with the influx of people venturing into the village. In addition, they are in the process of training 20 new employees to add to the staff they already have. 

“We will try to accommodate walk-in customers as much as possible, but we advise to make a reservation,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and feels comfortable.” 

Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said business owners in the area are “cautiously optimistic” about the current and next stages of reopening. They’re hoping that they can return to normal business operations soon. 

“There has been a lot of burden put on these businesses; restaurants and retail stores have had to contend with reduced volume of sales, capacity and selling space,” Lefkowitz said. 

The chamber president added that while take-out orders helped bring in funds for restaurants, outdoor/indoor dining options will allow for these establishments to bounce back. He added that the chamber will continue to assist businesses in any way it can and help them navigate and understand Phase 4. 

“They are excited for the summer months and are looking forward to the business it could bring,” he said. 

Lefkowitz said he thinks post-COVID we will see outdoor seating and retail space during the spring and summer time. 

“I think it’s something every municipality on Long Island should consider, from what we’ve heard if given the choice, people have preferred outdoor seating,” he said. 

Tommy Marzano, co-owner of Faradays in Smithtown, said customers have been apprehensive about eating indoors with the majority of them preferring the restaurant’s outdoor seating.

“They prefer being outside — some of them don’t want nothing to do with being indoors even if everyone is six feet apart,” he said.

Marazano is hopeful that customers will eventually become more comfortable eating indoors again, though he acknowledged it could be a problem in the fall/winters months if COVID is still around and outdoor dining is not an option. He said takeout and delivery options could come back into play for restaurants.

Nonetheless, the feedback from customers has been positive, many raving about the restaurant’s garden and patio area.

“They are happy to have some bit of normalcy and be able to have a dining experience again,” he said. “We’ve had people tell us that this was the first place they wanted to go eat out, it means a lot that the community wants us to succeed.”

Sports Leagues/Recreational Sports for Phase 3
Shoreham-Wading River senior mid-fielder Elizabeth Shields out maneuvers a defender at home against John Glenn. Photo by Bill Landon

Beginning July 6, certain youth and recreation sports will be allowed to restart on Long Island. 

Baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, cross-country, soccer, noncontact lacrosse, doubles tennis, rafting, paintball, water polo and swimming will be allowed to begin games and competitions. 

Here is a list of youth sports leagues and facilities on the North Shore that will restart during July: 

Baseball/Softball 

• The Town of Brookhaven Baseball is tentatively set to begin its summer season on July 13. the 2020 Varsity Wood Bat Tournament in Brookhaven will run July 8-12.

• The Town of Brookhaven Fastpitch Softball League will commence its summer season in July. 

• The Three Village Youth Baseball and Softball League will start its season July 8. 

• North Shore Little League will not have a summer season, but its fall season will begin Aug. 15 and continue through the middle of October. 

• The Town of Brookhaven Adult Softball Slowpitch League will open beginning Sun July 12 and play through October. There will be no separate fall ball season. 

• St. James/Smithtown Little League will begin practicing July 6 and a soft opening day will be held July 11. The baseball/softball season will run July 13-29. 

• Huntington Tri-Village Little League will resume games July 25 with the season ending in late October

Soccer 

• Brookhaven Youth Soccer League will begin its season July 18 and last until Aug. 22. 

Tennis 

• Port Jefferson Country Club at Harbor Hills tennis courts are open to play. 

• The Town of Brookhaven’s pickleball/tennis courts located at 286 Hawkins Road, Centereach, are open. At this time, the courts will only be opened to Brookhaven residents.

• Huntington Town tennis courts are open to residents and the public. 

• The Suffolk County Junior Tennis League in Smithtown will begin summer matches from July 13 to Aug. 20. 

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Harbor Grill in Port Jefferson is now under ownership of the people behind the Meadow Club and Curry Club. Photo by Kyle Barr

The owners of a popular catering hall and Indian cuisine restaurant along the North Shore are making their move to West Broadway in Port Jefferson. 

The family of restaurateurs has plans to take over the Harbor Grill, previously known as Schafer’s. The new restaurant would be one of the latest addition to the Port Jeff harborfront. 

Indu Kaur, the director of operations of The Meadow Club, is part of a family of business owners on the North Shore. Photo by Kyle Barr

Indu Kaur, the director of operations of The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station, said they had been renting out the space in Port Jeff during the holiday season and hosted their annual Small Business Holiday Party there. 

It was during that time that they realized the potential of the building. 

“We noticed that our clients really liked the space and the overall ambiance,” Kaur said. “It was perfect for smaller parties — we saw a great opportunity.”

In addition to the client’s feedback, Kaur said she liked the layout of the two-story restaurant with an outdoor dining section that boasts views of the harbor. 

“We have been brainstorming a few things, we wanted to move into a new direction and are excited to offer something different to Port Jeff residents,” she said. 

Kaur said they haven’t decided on a name for the restaurant yet, but are leaning toward a water theme being they are close to the harbor as well as incorporating a touch of their business background.  

A chef has already been hired for the new space, and the family is in the midst of finalizing the menu and other aspects of the new restaurant. 

Kaur said that residents can expect Indian cuisine and a fusion of menu items similar to what they offer at their other two restaurants. 

“It’s going to be great to offer new options to our customers,” she said. “It will be a great place to have a nice lunch or dinner.”

In addition, they hope to attract visitors coming in from Bridgeport. Kaur also teased the possibility of adding a brunch menu as a way of attracting more patrons. 

As the family prepares to open the new restaurant, the Meadow Club which was closed due a fire in 2018, is expected to reopen this spring. 

Despite rumors that The Curry Club may close, Kaur said the restaurant will continue to be open and that the famed train cart will remain. 

One of the first events the family will host in the building will be a Valentine’s Day four-course dinner. Tickets for couples are $120 which will include a Champagne bottle and a cocktail drink. Reservations from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. can be made by calling 631-928-3800. The dance floor will be open, and a DJ will be playing all night. 

“We are excited about the move and we are looking forward to helping bring more people into Port Jefferson,” Kaur said. 

Indu Kaur, the director of operations of The Meadow Club, looks at blueprints of new the building in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Kyle Barr

A North Shore family of business owners is looking to help connect and celebrate local shops, despite a devastating fire of one of their premier establishments.

Indu Kaur, the director of operations of The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station, said she and her family, which also owns the Curry Club in East Setauket, will be renting the space of Harbor Grill in Port Jefferson village on weekdays during the holiday season. That is where she said they expect to host their annual Small Business Holiday Party Dec. 14, which in previous years has taken place at The Meadow Club.

When originally assessing the damages of the fire at The Meadow Club banquet hall, where the roof had burned in a predawn fire July 2018, the owners thought they could reopen just a few months after the damages. The fire had spread to just over half the roof, but what the family soon came to realize was the damage was much more expansive than that. 

Inside the reconstructed Meadows Club. The owners hope to have the site operational again by spring of next year. Photo by Kyle Barr

Fire hose and sprinkler water had completely destroyed much of the furniture inside. The water had also ruined the wallpaper and paintings hung around the place, which The Meadow Club’s director of operations said was a particularly rough blow.

Kaur said Brookhaven Town has been “very kind in guiding us through” and in expediting the process, but still the length of the process has been taxing on the owners and family. Kaur said they have already sunk $2 million into bringing the location back to where it was, and reconstruction has been slowed by needing to bring the building up to code. She still works at the building while work is ongoing, even during the progressively colder late autumn months. They hope to have the site operational again by spring of next year, but she was understandably hesitant to be sure on those dates, with so much work still needed for completion.

“We thought everything would be a cleanup — new Sheetrock, new carpet, we’re done,” she said. “It’s still going above our budget, so we are way past where we had predicted.” 

Jennifer Dzvonar, the president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, called the owners of The Meadow Club one of the most supportive members of the community and chamber around, often willing to host meetings or other events, and they have aided with donations in the past. After the fire and the building was closed, Dzvonar said Kaur and the hall’s owners wouldn’t hesitate to offer alternative places.

“They’re putting in tremendous effort to bring back this beautiful establishment for the community,” Dzvonar said. “It will increase the prestige of the area.”

“They’re putting in tremendous effort to bring back this beautiful establishment for the community, It will increase the prestige of the area.”

– Jennifer Dzvonar 

Kaur said her most loyal customers have been buzzing about when it will open next. One family, she said, has even put their wedding on hold for the sake of having their ceremony at the banquet hall.

“The reason the town helped — the community helped us — is because we had loyal customers,” she said. “They kept coming back because they wanted to hold their celebrations here. That is why I’m so touched and emotional because I hate to see anybody waiting for their celebrations.”

Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) called The Meadow Club “an institution” in Port Jeff Station, commending the owners for working with the chamber, even with the place still under repairs.

“The Meadow Club has been diligent in its efforts to reopen and has clearly shown a commitment to continued investment in this Port Jefferson Station community,” the councilwoman said. “It has been my pleasure to assist them in navigating the town’s planning process as they work toward reopening.”

The chamber president said the holiday party is a great resource for small businesses that don’t have the time or money to throw their own celebrations.

“It’s just an example of them giving back,” she said.

The Meadow Club is currently accepting reservations for the Small Business Holiday Party Dec. 14 and New Year’s Eve Bash Dec. 31, both at Harbor Grill, 111 W. Broadway in Port Jeff. The event is asking for $65 per person plus tax, where each company will have its own reserved table. Each ticket includes food and valet parking, and the event will have a DJ. People can visit The Meadow Club’s Facebook page for more information.

“All the small businesses can get together and network, that’s what’s good about it,” Kaur said.