Get your brainstorm on

August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

the Cookroom Long Island's Hidden Gem bumper sticker

We want to hear your voice in the first ever Cookroom bumper sticker design contest

Check out Mark’s clever take on the Montauk sticker here.

Check out Kori’s ode to the Oaty Oat Pancake, and our VW Vanagon “the Juice” here.

Have your own ideas?  Post them on the Cookroom facebook page.

Then get out the vote.  Tell your friends and family to vote for your idea by “liking” your post.  Most “likes” will get a free meal for 2.

And, we will print the winning idea, so if your bumper sticker proves most popular, you will be immortalized on the backs of cars all across long island (and possibly the universe).

So go ahead, channel your inner Mad Men and show off your creative side.

If you’re feeling a little shy, you can participate by voting.  Simply “like” your favorite bumper sticker idea, and you will get a free sticker for your car, truck, boat, trapper keeper, etc. once they are printed.

Contest ends September 1.

p.s. below are two images we’re making available for public use in this contest.  Feel free to copy the images and use them as you wish.




Happy Birthday Granny Annie

August 9, 2011 § 8 Comments

Granny Annie founder of the Cookroom

Ladies and Gentlemen, the hostess with the mostest, the legendary, Granny Annie

When you come to the Cookroom you can feel the spirit of Granny Annie (my mom’s self applied moniker).  “Grandmother of four beautiful kids,” she will proudly tell you.   Whether Granny Annie is physically present or not, you can look around and see her influence everywhere.  From the jovial nature of our team, down to the work ethic, it’s all got her signature.  The Cookroom matriarch, Annie is the most generous, empathetic, supportive, hard working perfectionist I’ve ever known.

Mom always said to me that if you’re having fun, it doesn’t feel like work.  I’d be willing to bet that few organizations work as hard as we do while having as much fun at work as we do here at the Cookroom.

A waitress for 33 years (eleven years at each of three different restaurants), Annie has always loved this business because “you get your social while you’re working.”  As her son I can understand why it is the perfect work for her. More important than working her tail off and having boundless energy, she loves to make people happy.  She takes ultimate pleasure in seeing our customers happy.   When you have fun at the Cookroom, and you enjoy a wonderful meal , it is Annie’s greatest reward.

Work is a dirty word for some.  For Annie, it’s a place to focus her boiling passions.  As a young girl, her fellow servers at the Bonwitt Inn in Commack used to call her the quarterback.  Her boss lost his temper when she asked for a specific night off, yelling, “you can’t take off!  I’ve got to put two girls in your place if you take off.”

At home, she always taught us to do a complete job.  There are no short cuts.  Whatever the endeavor, she is in the moment.  Do the dishes to do the dishes, for you philosophy majors out there.  Whether washing her floor (never with a mop, always on her hands and knees because it’s the only way to really get it clean), refinishing a piece of furniture somebody was throwing away, or throwing a dinner party, she took the same satisfaction in the beautiful end result.

It’s no wonder that breakfast and lunch is where Granny Annie has begun her career as a restauranteur.  In high school she made us a hot egg sandwich for breakfast every day, without fail.  When she realized I was never going to get up early enough to sit at the table and eat it, she would pack it in tin foil to go, and I would be the envy of the entire bus.  Lunchtime was amazing because in my brown bag was a sandwich on Rye or a Kaiser roll, piled high with Boar’s head salsalito turkey and a slice of cheddar.  Are you seeing continuity of theme here?  Dinners had to be fast because the three of us kids had karate and soccer and lacrosse and wrestling, etc.  Grilled sandwiches – corned beef, turkey, chicken, etc., were a staple.

Before the food network was all the rage, my best friend Jeff and I had a pretend cooking show where all we made was egg sandwiches, hosted right in Granny Annie’s kitchen after our sleep-overs.   Around Christmas, those same sleep-overs would involve raiding the fridge at 2am for Christmas cookies – an unbelievable mix including Italian rainbow, lindzer tarts, chocolate chip and molasses cookies.

Holidays allowed for more leisurely, elaborate dinners, and they always involved Granny Annie’s cheddar biscuits.  I was addicted to those things like you wouldn’t believe, and back when I was an invincible eater I would take down 8 or more of those biscuits with dinner. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment in the Cookroom when mom asked, “remember the cheddar biscuits?  Should we do those? “  Pulling from my valuable experience as the co host of our imaginary egg sandwich cooking show, I conjured the egg sliders as the dish to highlight these perfect biscuits.  Mom perfected a sausage and bacon gravy recipe, and voila, the best biscuits and sausage gravy you’ve ever had.  They are  two of our most popular plates.

Annie’s latest and greatest personal development has been her  ability to let go.  A true do it yourselfer, this is a big feat for her.  This is the woman that, despite repetitive stress injuries forced her retirement from waitressing, would lift 50 pound pots of potatoes at the Cookroom rather than ask for help.  I’m proud of her for allowing her family to run the day to day operations while she cares for my pop.

Mom once gave me advice I draw upon often: “You make sure you keep your shoulders back.”   She was telling me to have the confidence that she will be the first to tell you she always lacked.  I am so proud of her for having the confidence to venture out and open the Cookroom.  These last three years  have been a real love story.  Annie has been overwhelmed by the support and love of the greatest customer base on the planet.  Spend enough time at this place, and you truly feel as though it is one giant extended family.

As Paul Jr., one of our regulars once joked,” I wish I could take her energy and bottle it.”  You cannot, Paul.  No structure could contain it.

the Cookroom bumper sticker contest

August 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Announcing the first ever Cookroom bumper sticker contest

Play and you could win breakfast / lunch for you and a guest

It’s simple.

1) Create a bumper sticker idea for the Cookroom.
It could be text only, image only, image plus text, etc.  Whatever your mind can conceive.

2) Submit your idea on the Cookroom facebook page

3) People vote on their favorites by “liking” the facebook post.

The idea with the most votes by September 1st wins.  We will print your winning idea, and your geniusness (geniosity?) will be immortalized on the backs of cars all across this Long Island.  Plus, you and a very lucky guest (choose wisely) will get to eat a delicious meal at the Cookroom, gratis.  Pardon my french.  I mean, el freebo.

Get to it.  Get your brainstorm on, post your best idea here, and start campaigning for votes.  Have fun.

*original ideas only.  Please no copyright infringement.

My How You’ve Grown

August 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

Oh my darlings, only several months ago it seemed the brutal winter would never end. Though the calendar promised spring was nigh,  indoor temperatures mocked and made me fear for your survival.  Now look at you. Thriving at the Cookroom, thanks to good soil and our Southern exposure to the sun’s arc.

Tomato seedlings growing in a tray

Ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine at the Cookroom restaurant

For a real treat on your next visit to the Cookroom, take a stroll through the garden and enjoy a few straight from the vine.  The juice will burst with sweetness, still warm from the sun.  Better than your favorite piece of candy.

a Nice Summery Salad

August 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Spinach salad with Long Island peaches, avocados, homegrown cherry tomatoes (oh so sweet) and white balsamic vinaigrette.
Add grilled chicken if you please.

Spinach salad with long island peaches, avocado, cherry tomatoes and white balsamic dressing

Local peaches make mouth happy

August 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

To paraphrase the band Presidents of the United States of America:
Going to the Cookroom gonna eat a lot of peaches
Yes we’re going to the Cookroom gonna eat a lot of peaches…

Basket of Peaches grown on the East End of Long Island

Long Island Peaches on special at the Cookroom

Here at the Cookroom, they’re in your salad, they’re on your french toast, add them to your baked oatmeal, whatever your fancy.  They are so sweet and juicy.  And since they are grown only miles away, they are tree ripened. The peaches you see at the supermarket are most often shipped from the South – Georgia, Florida, etc.  Because they travel a great distance to reach your mouth, and to account for the time they will sit on the produce shelf in the market, the peaches have to be picked much earlier in their lives.  They are plucked from the tree before they are ripe, depriving them of crucial nutrients that would have been turned to sugars.  We are all used to eating fruit this way – apples from Washington state, Avocados from California or Chile, etc., but when you eat a local peach, or tomato or apple, that had the opportunity to reach full flavor and maturity with it’s mother, the tree  (vine in the case of tomatoes), there is nothing quite like the burst of flavor, juice and sweetness.  Come and enjoy.

Croissant French Toast with Local Peaches, Blueberries and Fresh Whipped Cream

July 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now on Special at the Cookroom


photo by Catie Riggs