22 North Park Ave., Rockville Centre
(516) 536-1950, www.press195.com
If you haven’t visited Press 195 in Rockville Centre recently, you’re in for a surprise. They have hugely renovated, expanding into the space next door. The front bar area is spacious now, with high top tables and a place to wait. Rustic barn doors reveal a festive party room that accommodates 85. Restrooms have been added. The former dining area remains, with its striking high arched ceilings lined with stained glass, as does the rear glass-encased atrium room, heated and air conditioned for the seasons. Even the menu keeps expanding.
A bit of history … Original owners, Brian Karp and Chris Evans, met in college in Buffalo. After 9/11, when both had lost their jobs, they pooled every cent they had and opened a small Panini shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Combining the hot press they were using with the street number, they named it Press 195. It took off. In 2005, they opened another shop in Bayside, Queens, and in 2010, Rockville Centre. They recently closed the Brooklyn locale, and the latter two are thriving. John Annechino and John Stasinopoulous, who both worked their way up to managers, now join as partners.
More than 50 sandwiches prevail — hot pressed, heroes, cold, on Ciabatta bread and even pressed between a knish, in combinations that challenge the imagination. Add to that a bunch of salads, burgers, starters and their infamous Belgian fries, and you’ll please anyone, any age. Items (without add-ons) range from $4.50 to $18. Children’s meals include chips and apple slices for $8.50; add a juice box for $2.
We started with Avocado salad, a tangle of mixed greens, tomatoes, avocado, sliced egg, bacon and onions, sprinkled with creamy cilantro-lime dressing — a refreshing starter or healthy meal. Hummus & Pita had the “wow” effect, a large platter of toasted pita chips and lime-seasoned chick peas circling a tub of homemade black bean hummus topped with roasted red peppers. Also spectacular was Asparagus and Mozzarella – slices of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes topped with grilled asparagus drizzled with maple syrup basil pesto.
Based on the “Zebe” sandwich from Buffalo, we enjoyed toasted Ciabatta with tender, thin sliced roast beef, mozzarella and marinara sauce. Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich — a breaded chicken cutlet smothered with spicy chili-wildflower honey, boasted sweet onion ranch and burn pickle slices. Sandwich combinations are truly endless; you’ll need time to peruse the menu. With coffee, we enjoyed creamy homemade cheesecake, a gluten-free option. Raves also go to Momma Annechino’s Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting.
Hours are Sunday through Wednesday 11:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. Happy hour is noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Live entertainment happens several Thursday evenings a month. Check events on the website. Private rooms can accommodate groups up 50 and 85. Take-out, catering and delivery (2-mile radius) are available.
■ Avocado Salad
■ Hummus & Pita
■ Asparagus & Mozzarella
■ Roast Beef and
Marinara Press Sandwich
■ Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich
■ Gluten-Free Cheesecake
■ Momma Annechino’s Carrot Cake