Insider’s Guide to Riverhead: Where to Wine, Dine, and Party July 4th

Enjoy the riverside in Riverhead before and after the fireworks. Photo credit: file photo

There are plenty of spectacular fireworks displays that will be glistening in the skies of Eastern Long Island. Here at Dan’s Papers we have the inside scoop on not only the best spots to see the shows, but also what to do before and after the patriotic pyrotechnics light up the night on the North Fork in Riverhead.

On Saturday night Riverhead Raceway (1797 Old Country Road, Riverhead, 631-842-7223) is not just celebrating the Fourth of July, the racetrack will also be celebrating its 65th birthday, so it’s sure to be a memorable extravaganza. The event which begins at 6 p.m. will feature NASCAR stock cars, a 65-lap main event and of course, and fireworks presented by Long Island based Bay Fireworks.

If you’re looking for something more laid back than demolition derby, head off the routinely jam-packed Route 58 and over to downtown Riverhead. The best thing to do would be to find a parking spot early behind the local shops and restaurants on Main Street near Suffolk Theater and then walk around until the fireworks take off from Grangebel Park right in the Peconic River on Friday at 9:15 p.m.

A favorite riverside spot is Turkuaz Grill (40 McDormett Avenue, Riverhead, 631-591-1757) , a Turkish restaurant that serves a flavorful array of Mediterranean dishes chosen by our readers as one of Dan’s Best of the Best for their gyro. While you sit outside at one of the restaurant’s umbrella shaded picnic tables you can enjoy the view and avoid the crowds. Turkuaz and its friendly staff are walking distance from Grangebel Park and Vines & Hops.

The picturesque boardwalk will fill up with eager onlookers, so you might want to find a spot at a local bar beforehand so you can stroll right over for the fireworks display. Vines & Hops (127 E Main Street, Riverhead, 631-369-3100), located right across from the Suffolk Theater, is a family-owned bar and lounge with one of the widest selections of craft beers on draft and by the bottle along with wine, and festive red, white and blue cocktails for the holiday weekend. It’s also just steps away from the riverfront and often hosts talented local musicians.

On the opposite side of Main Street, The Suffolk Theater (118 E Main Street, Riverhead, 631-727-4343) will be hosting an open-house celebration. The party is from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 3 right before the fireworks in the park. The free pre-fireworks open house will feature a performance from rock and blues band Who Are Those Guys. If you miss the party this weekend check them out at Dan’s Harvest East End on August 22 at McCall Vineyard in Cutchogue.

PeraBell Food Bar (65 East Main Street, Riverhead, 631-740-9494) is the latest newcomer to the reinvigorated downtown Riverhead scene. Thought the restaurant, which has another popular spot in Patchogue, hasn’t officially had its grand opening, they did have a soft opening June 26. PeraBell, also part of our Dan’s Harvest East End soiree, will begin opening for lunch and dinner 7 nights a week on July 13. As for the 4th of July weekend, the restaurant will be closed Saturday and Sunday but open Thursday and Friday from 3 to 10 p.m.

A local favorite that’s both hidden and adored is Farm Country Kitchen (513 W Main Street, Riverhead, 631-369-6311). The quaint farmhouse is on Route 25, closer to Polish Town and seven nights a week it serves up local, fresh, seasonal plates. Try the stuffed portobello mushroom with sun-dried tomato hummus, topped with artichoke hearts, feta, cilantro pesto and a balsamic glaze for an appetizer. The goat cheese bruschetta is also a favorite. For a main course, the fillet mignon served with an au poivre sauce, Yukon gold mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables and asparagus, is delectable. Farm Country Kitchen is BYOB so don’t forget to stop at a local winery – like our Dan’s Taste of Summer participant Martha Clara Vineyards (6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, 631-298-0075) – for your favorite rosé to sip on while sitting at one of the picnic tables at the outdoor eating area.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton presented by Pat LeFrieda Meat Purveyors on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit

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