The food industry on Long Island can be repetitious, often inundated with restaurants serving similar menus. Tejan Arora, a law school graduate from East Meadow, wanted to diversify the area’s food offerings. Enter Street to Table, a new restaurant on Merrick Road in Merrick that turns street eats into crowd-pleasing favorites.
While Arora was attending Brooklyn Law School, his parents opened Maracas Southwest Grill in North Babylon. After he passed the bar in 2018, Tejan started working there, and eventually became a partner.
“I left law alone to pursue this,” Arora said. “The hospitality business is more satisfying and fulfilling, and more exciting, too.”
After attending food fairs throughout New York City and taking part in Deer Park’s annual Famous Food Festival with Maracas, Arora felt that Long Island lacked the diverse food scene at these events, so he opened Street to Table.
“It’s really fun seeing how excited people get when they order foods they can’t traditionally get,” he said. “You have to go out of your way for those things, especially during the winter.”
Since its debut in late September, Street to Table has received positive reviews. “The feedback from our customers has been great,” said Operations Manager Jonathan Nieves. “This is something Merrick was needing for a while.”
Located at the former site of Amerrickana Tapas & Bar, Street to Table’s layout is reminiscent of a boardwalk filled with fun food shacks. The restaurant has a creative décor: A neon sign reading, “It’s not that serious” illuminates a panel of vines; a vintage bike, a traffic light, a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers and a sign for state Route 27A are among the oddities on the back wall; and on the wall near the kitchen is a pay phone. The change customers contribute is donated to the Only Love Foundation, which helps provide educational tools to schools in underdeveloped countries.
Street to Table features a seasonal menu, which will become winter-themed on Dec. 1. Some fall favorites include a shrimp po’ boy stuffed with buttermilk-fried shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and finished with a spicy aioli; fried mac and cheese balls smothered in a homemade cheese sauce; and elote, or Mexican street corn, garnished with garlic-chipotle aioli, crema, queso fresco, chili and cayenne powder, cilantro, Cheeto dust and a squeeze of lime.
Accompanying the food is a bevy of beverages served up by Prince, Street to Table’s head mixologist. Behind the bar, Prince creates various cocktail options, and each drink has a different story to tell, he said.
A big hit on the bar menu is the Anti-Social, Prince’s spin on the piña colada. A blend of Rittenhouse rye, lemon, coconut, pineapple, orange juice and walnut bitters, the cocktail is intended to elicit feelings of summertime.
The Maya’s Town cocktail is also a fan favorite, Prince said, combining tequila, mezcal, lime, agave and cucumber. “It will definitely be one drink that will stay put for the winter menu,” he added.
Arora said he was thankful for the support the restaurant has received from the community. “The people around the area are super friendly, super nice and super supportive, and that’s very encouraging,” he said. “I tell everyone who comes in, ‘Keep coming back and we’ll be here forever.’”
The restaurant is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 11:30 p.m. and Sundays for brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Street to Table is at 2205 Merrick Road. For reservations, call (516) 608-8185.