If you had asked me what the Bayport Cookery’s big problem was, I’d have said: “No one has enough birthdays.” What I mean by that is chef and owner Jim Kyndberg’s elaborate prix-fixe multiple course menus are wonderful, creative—and fascinating—but they kind of seem like something you should only do on your birthday.
Well, it seems that Kyndberg has done some hard reckoning with the extremely small number of birthdays you are likely to have in a year and has decided to do something about it. He is converting half of the Bayport Cookery to a wine bar and casual eatery. How casual? He told me there will be lots of pizzas and burgers on offer, starting at $9. If that sounds antithetical to the Bayport’s habit of making quite deluxe little chefly treats, please know that there will be some of those, as well, on a nightly specials board which will offer appetizers, entrees, the works. If you’re familiar with the Bayport Cookery, know that the wine bar will be located in one of the restaurant’s front rooms, and will seat about 30; they’re taking reservations only for parties of 8 or more. The larger back dining room, the one with the fireplace, will remain a fine dining haven.
I talked to Kyndberg while he was in mid-construction. “They just fired up a sander, I can’t hear you!” he said. Then he changed phones and said: “This plan for the wine bar has been in the works for a while, though we’ve been keeping it on the down-low. It’s always been sad to me that we haven’t been utilized more by the local community, so this is my chance to get them in the door. We’ve been really lucky to do so well over the years. But as everyone knows the economy is, to say the least, a little rocky right now, and the writing is on the wall.” That writing being: Get cheaper—or get gone.
Speaking of cheap, what’s cheaper than free? There will be lots of free appetizers on hand for the wine bar’s opening, next weekend July 25th and 26th, so if you’re feeling like celebrating with Kyndberg, put it on your calendar. For me, I’ll probably wait until the place has found its legs, not least because Kyndberg tells me he plans to eventually debut the world’s first “Jucy Lucifer” hamburger, which will be a sort of Jucy Lucy built around foie gras. Doesn’t that sound like something you’d have on your birthday? Rats, here we go again….
The Bayport Cookery
328 5th Ave. N., Bayport