Menu Movers & Shakers

New Locations to Pick Up Smokehouse Tailgate Barbecue Now Available

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By Morris Gut

Mike Hoffer and Justin Zeytoonian, proprietors of Smokehouse Tailgate Grill restaurants in New Rochelle and Mamaroneck, have partnered with DeCicco & Sons in Somers to introduce The Pit, their in-store barbecue operation.

It’s located on the sprawling second floor of the market at their Grill & Lounge Beer Bar. At this writing, The Pit will be operating on Thursdays and Fridays from 12:30 to 8 p.m. for on-premises dining or take-out.

The Pit’s current menu includes such popular smokehouse specialties as wings, fried little thighs, barbecue smoked brisket, St. Louis smoked ribs, kale Caesar salad, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches. All the trimmings are there, too.

DeCicco’s has devoted space and machinery for barbecue at some of their other locations, such as their newest store in Eastchester, so it is a work in progress. More smokehouse fare may be on the way.

DeCicco & Sons Somers is located at 266 Route 202 in Somers. Info: 914-228-5600 or visit

A Visit to Smokehouse Tailgate

We recently visited Smokehouse Tailgate Grill at its new industrial-designed restaurant in the fall. The Hoffer-Zeytoonian team re-opened it about a year ago in The Rockwell, a new building along North Avenue in New Rochelle, near Iona University, directly across from the original location that they founded in 2007.

There is a good selection of craft beers along with signature tacos, barbecue chicken and racks of ribs. We ordered their popular brisket, and it was flavorful and tender. The Tomahawk Burger is prepared with Pat LaFrieda beef and is a satisfying winner.

Smokehouse Tailgate Grill is located at 587 North Ave. in New Rochelle. Info: 914-813-8686. A second location is at 320 Mamaroneck Ave. in Mamaroneck. Info: 914-341-1655 or visit

Enjoy Beer, Snacks

Smokehouse Tailgate Grill partners Justin Zeytoonian, left, and Mike Hoffer, at The Pit, where they prepare barbecue specialties at DeCicco & Sons in Somers.

Early on in the expansion and reimagining of their markets, DeCicco & Sons looked to make grocery shopping a little more of an experience. The colorful variety of food stations adds to a shopper’s temptations while walking through the aisles. Once they zeroed in on the craft beer business, a whole new audience was found.

Some locations offer a craft beer bar offering a fine selection of changing brews at reasonable prices. Their craft beer bars can be found in Ardsley, Eastchester, Armonk, Brewster, Millwood, Larchmont and Somers, each offering up to 28 taps.

Check the website for current brews and menu listings at

Ocean Blue Premieres in Rye

One of the most anticipated openings of the past year was Ocean Blue Prime, which moved into the space previously occupied by the classic French restaurant La Panetiere. Giovanni Rraci and his family, who also operate Rraci’s Italian Restaurant in Brewster, have made a major renovation to the free-standing multilevel house, and are now open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The menu offers a fine selection of steak and seafood. Head chef is Ernesto Gomez, who had worked for many years at the legendary Sparks Steak House in Manhattan.

I recently stopped in to see the work in progress, walked through the airy premises and made myself comfortable in their new bar and lounge. Benny, the manager, and barkeep was very cordial on this mid-afternoon, and helped me select a glass of fine red wine.

A snack was in the offing, too: crab cakes served over a bed of greens with tartar sauce and crusty rolls. The two crab cakes were large, lightly crusted and loaded with the flavor of the sea. Very satisfying.

More on Ocean Blue Prime when I have had a chance to explore the menu further.

Ocean Blue Prime is located at 530 Milton Rd. in Rye. Info: 914-881-1270 or visit

White Plains Restaurant Month

Kick off 2023 by perking up your palate!

The White Plains Business Improvement District has launched its third annual Downtown White Plains Restaurant Month that is running through the end of January. It features a variety of dining options from the city’s downtown.

Participating eateries include Freebird Kitchen and Bar, Cantina Taco & Tequila Bar, Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant, Brazen Pub, Alex Lounge, Bello’s Mexican Grill, Colombian House, Dunne’s Pub and Delicias Del Jireh Peruvian restaurant.

Restaurants are expected to offer prix fixe specials for lunch for $22.95 and dinner for $32.95, and/or what is being called a second-tier enhanced dinner for $42.95. Take-out is included. Sometimes there are caveats, so if you want to take advantage, I recommend calling your restaurant of choice in advance for details. 

A full list of participating eateries has been posted at

Good reasons to get out for some themed dining this winter are coming up across the region. The Lunar New Year (Year of the Rabbit) falls on Sunday, Jan. 22, a fine time to visit your favorite Asian restaurant. Then, for all you lovers out there, you can look forward to Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14. Then comes Fat Tuesday, the annual Mardi Gras celebration on Feb. 21. We’ll be offering tasty suggestions for all of these events in the coming weeks.

A happy and healthy new year and bon appetite in 2023!

Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or by e-mail at

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