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From curb appeal and playspaces, to a distillery and book shop, Larkfield Road’s potential is showing – and growing

Business by: Joanne Kountourakis, October 26, 2021

Kidz Course owners Kristi and Joe Daly in their Larkfield Road "ninja-themed playspace."

Earlier this month, a local couple completed a small but meaningful project: they cleared the weeds from an area surrounding a tree in front of their storefront, built a wooden flower box around it and added some mums. Like many things happening on Larkfield Road right now, it’s one small step in the right direction.

Kristi and Joe Daly, owners of Kidz Course in East Northport, took over the Larkfield Road location in November, and opened it to the public in March. As the weather got warmer, weeds began to grow – and overgrow – in the square patch of dirt in front of their entrance.

“As business owners, we said ‘It can’t look like that,’” said Kristi. So one day Joe, who also runs a custom furniture shop out of the location, cleared the outside area of weeds, then built, stained, and installed a flower box that instantly transformed the sidewalk space.

With a little time and effort, the Dalys transformed the dirt patch outside their storefront into some curbside appeal.

The Dalys, who live in East Northport, love the central location of their business, and are working on signage to make Kidz Course even more visible to passersby and traffic from the train station. Their ninja-themed playspace caters to parties for kids ages three to seven years old, but also hosts mommy-and-me classes and open play for children as young as ten months. Larger versions of their ninja courses are available for backyard rentals, and Kristi hosts occasional themed events, such as an upcoming “Parents Night Out” Halloween party (kids are dropped off, parents can go out) this Friday, October 29, from 6-8pm.

“It’s wonderful to see a Larkfield Road business taking such initiative,” said East Northport Chamber of Commerce executive director Loriann Pineo of the Dalys’ sidewalk beautification efforts. “Their pride in ownership is self-evident. What a wonderful addition they are to our East Northport downtown business district!”

Post-festival beautification to come…
Loriann is coming off the success of September’s East Northport Festival, the Chamber’s largest fundraiser, and one of three annual fundraisers that couldn’t be held last year due to Covid. “The festival was the busiest to date,” she said. “The response and community support was overwhelming. What a joy it was to finally come together as a community once again.”

Proceeds from the festival will be used for beautification projects around East Northport such as holiday lights in the winter and hanging flower baskets in the spring, as well as to support small businesses in the area year-round, Loriann added.

Coffee and more…
New small businesses on and around Larkfield are multiplying. Word of a new “drive-thru only” business replacing the old Dairy Barn on Larkfield Road is making its way across social media. David Czegledi is regional manager of the new chain, and confirmed with the Journal that the location, which will be operating under new ownership and management, is slated to open in early to mid-November.

The East Northport location will feature Buzz'd Express coffee (other stores are currently underway in Selden and Bellmore) and will still sell kitchen staples like milk, eggs, bread, bacon, and ice cream. While the name will be changed, and the building redone, the aesthetic will keep in line with the history and look of the old Dairy Barn, said David. Management is also redoing the entire landscaping of the property with new sod, flower beds, cement and asphalt.

Need something… stronger?
Hewitt Square, where stores just received a new brick facelift, is welcoming two new businesses: Jersey Mike’s Subs and Twisted Cow Distillery, brainchild of longtime East Northport resident John Pawluk, who decided to start the distillery in July 2019 “after painfully commuting to Manhattan and New Jersey since 1995.”

Construction of the distillery is set to begin soon – after more than two-and-a-half years of design and planning. “We're ecstatic to join the thriving local craft beverage community,” said John, noting that the distillery’s “super premium spirits” will be based on Long Island heirloom grains and local fruits.

Twisted Cow Distillery, in the Hewitt Square shopping center, is set to open this winter/spring of 2022.

According to John, initial spirits available at Twisted Cow will be unaged (such as with wheat, rye and corn vodkas) with innovative all-natural flavor extractions. They’ll have traditional and botanical gins and will be testing new flavors and spirits constantly, he added. “Before we open for retail sales, our bourbon, rye and single malts will begin their flavor-trip, as they age in beautiful, NY-produced, charred virgin white oak barrels,” said John. Seasonal and limited release spirits will arrive throughout the year based on ingredients' peak flavor.

With a target grand opening date of late winter/early spring 2022, Twisted Cow’s tasting room will be open daily for a flight, a cocktail, or to pick up a bottle. In the spirit of supporting local neighborhood restaurants, catered and delivered food will be offered, said John, with special events, spirit release parties, tours and food/spirit pairings all in the works.

Did someone say book shop?
Directly across the street from Hewitt Square, where previously empty storefronts are filling up, is the recently opened The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop, home to a small selection of used books in a variety of genres, a dedicated poetry section of living poets, as well as some antiquarian and independent/small press books.

A lifetime Northport-East Northport resident, James Wagner chose Larkfield Road to open his book shop not just because it’s home, he said, but because of all the things that have occurred there for him. His father had a collectibles store at 287 Larkfield Road (where Samantha’s Li’l Bit of Heaven is now), and 12 years ago, James hosted his first ever poetry reading at Wizards, which was at 275 Larkfield Road. “I feel like the most important things in my life happened on Larkfield Road,” James said from inside his new shop (at 250 Larkfield Road).

James and Jillian Wagner in The Dog Eared Bard's Book Shop, also on Larkfield.

James started a publishing company for poetry, Local Gems Press, in 2010 and has for the past decade grown a following through The Bard’s Initiative, a group of local poets and beyond who actively gather for poetry readings and anthologies up and down the East Coast. The get-togethers were held pretty consistently up until Covid, when a previously active Long Island poetry scene at cafes, bookstores and libraries “kind of went belly up,” said James. It was then James thought it would be nice to have a dedicated space for workshops, readings and other events. “We’ve wanted to have our own bookstore/poetry space for a really long time,” he said. “Covid kind of was the impetus that was like ‘Alright, go do it now.’”

In its grand opening week, the book shop hosted multiple events, including an antiquarian book show and a poetry reading, and plans on hosting poetry events, including book launches and signings, at least once a month.

To keep up-to-date with these latest additions to Larkfield Road, check out:
East Northport Chamber of Commerce Facebook page
Kidz Course website
Twisted Cow Facebook page
The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop Facebook page
And the Northport Journal, of course.