Right before Covid stomped on the momentum, farm-to-table and eat-local inspired chef tasting menus using unique and sometimes locally sourced ingredients had been picking up speed across Long Island restaurants like Paw Paw Pop Up in Greenport and Trattoria in St James. As soon as total shutdowns began to ease and Long Island restaurants had to get creative, the competitive, innovative outdoor dining niche was born. Any experience-based loving foodie could feel the excitement ahead and hoped that this trend would evolve across the island, long past a full reopening. But the idea that really caught our attention and got us pumped for the future was the concept of restaurant markets like Tullulah’s Tiny Market in Bay Shore and Pentimento Restaurant and Market in Stony Brook Village. Some were savvy (and lucky) enough to have had this vision long before Covid hit and did not need to do much to pivot.
As digital marketers, we always admired spots like Noamar on Deer Park Ave in Babylon. We would sit there, grab a bite, and marvel over how much they “really got it.” Their eye-catching website and beautiful images on Instagram have been seamlessly blending with their recipes, in-store classes, table service, great food, and their market items for a few years now. However, like others in the industry, their market mostly focused on bringing hard-to-find or inaccessible foreign products in their niche directly to the consumer. As a small business ourselves and marketers of small businesses on Long Island, we couldn’t help but see the opportunity for local independent restaurants and small start-up food brands to partner up. We thought it would be a great way for restaurants to brand themselves as supporters of other local small businesses while giving struggling small food start-ups a new creative avenue to connect directly with the community. With our minds typically on the survival of new small food brands, this concept becoming a means of survival for restaurants was more than we could have imagined.