Joseph Eng Sr., visionary restaurateur, dies at 91

Joseph Eng Sr., visionary restaurateur, dies at 91

Photo courtesy O.B. Davis Funeral Homes
Prepared by the Eng Family

Joseph D. Eng Sr., of South Setauket, passed peacefully on May 4. He was 91. 

Joseph emigrated from Toisan, China — near Macao and Hong Kong — on his own at 14, joining his father in British Columbia, Canada. After his father died, Joseph made his way to New York, where he worked briefly as a waiter, then went on to interior design school.

He made a small fortune on the stock market. Shortly thereafter he developed a concept for a new restaurant, which he founded with partners in 1970. For many years, the Dragon Island was an iconic restaurant in Centereach, serving Chinese cuisine and tropical drinks in a lush setting.

Joseph’s design, with waterfalls, koi ponds and footbridges, and featuring live Hawaiian culture entertainment on the weekends, offered catering as well. The venue was the scene of epic New Year’s Eve parties and hundreds of special events, including weddings, sweet sixteens, showers, prom dinners and company galas.

Joseph was predeceased by his devoted wife, Kit-Mei, who passed in 2019. He is survived by the children from his first marriage, Audrey, Suzie and George; and from his second marriage, Catherine, Joseph, Vivian and Carl. He was a loving grandfather to Ryley, Henry, Ryker, Lucas, Robert, Max, Matthew, Brian, Caden and Dylan Grace.

A service was held at O.B. Davis Funeral Homes in Centereach on Saturday, May 20. Interment followed at Pinelawn cemetery in Farmingdale.