Bench Warmer's Looking Beyond Location's Troubled History

Famed location now under new ownership focusing on its extensive menu and friendly atmosphere.

The Handlebar Restaurant, once featured on FOX's Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Gordon Ramsay, is long gone and its successor, .

The troubled location has its history, but James Dunn and Linda Metcalf, the owners of the new , aren't concerned with the past and are looking to provide great food and a friendly atmosphere in Mt. Sinai for years to come.

"We want to bring it back to where it used to be where it’s a family-friendly atmosphere," Dunn said. "That’s why we separated the rooms again. This way you can come in here, sit down with your family on one side, and we still have the sports bar, where it’s going to be a little loud because it’s a bar."

Dunn, who grew up in Miller Place, has owned bars for years and now will be joined by Metcalf as co-owner for the first time. He was initially looking at a place in Middle Island but was having trouble with the seating capacity. The landlord called him about this location, which he knew of while growing up in the area. A deal was struck and the bar opened, but not without its bumps in the road.

"We opened up May 25 after a five month ordeal trying to fix the place back up," Dunn said. "It was all torn apart. We had to renovate the whole place and we had to work with the Fire Marshal."

Now, after a few months, business has been good, according to Dunn. The tavern and grill focuses on quality food to help avoid anymore "kitchen nightmares."

"We have jumbo wings, not the little ones," he said. "Our burgers are made from fresh chop meat every day, the guys in the back take all the food to order, the quality of food is better."

The bar features Happy Hour every day and an especially unique item: a shuffleboard table.

"Nobody carries them anymore," Dunn said. "I grew up around them with my father being in the fire dept and I had one years ago in my first bar and it’s been working out for us.

"I’ve stayed away from the loud music, we’ve got a little bit of an older crowd here and I want to keep it that way."

Bench Warmer's has a complete menu and more information available on its website.

Mels Ditties August 09, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Luv the name & the warm look of the new place...Hope the new owners find much success!!
IrishJoan August 09, 2012 at 11:45 AM
After winning a generous gift certificate for Benchwarmers from the Terryville Soccer Fum day, our family enjoyed a delightful dining experience. The decor, service, and food were sublime. We were so impressed by this establishment, that we made recommendations to our friends, who already have reported that they are equally impressed! We are thrilled to have such an affordable and wonderful restaurant so close to home.
Christina Cooke LMT August 12, 2012 at 02:55 AM
The wings & burgers are the BEST in Suffolk county! Really great atmosphere.. the place is really clean & the staff is very friendly. They catered my friends birthday off the premises 2 weeks ago & everyone is still raving about the food.
Kathy Mc August 12, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Stopped in for a late night bite to eat...staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. Food was really, really fresh and perfectly prepared. Jim and Linda can not miss with that combination! Congratulations!
cmg September 01, 2012 at 02:26 PM
while we found the food and service very good, we were disappointed in the fact that the family "dining area" was so closed off....it felt clasutrophobic...we visited on the day of the Belmont Stakes, and although there were 2 small t.v.'s in the family area, there was no sound.....making the viewing of the race (which is always a family tradition) less enjoyable. We have been back since, but will now patronize the "bar" area only.


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