“Food so great! It’s worth the wait.”

The Village Idiot Pub has been serving Patchogue Village with quality bar food for the past five years. V.I.P. has a large menu, full bar and over 20 televisions for entertainment and fun for everyone.

The bar has 14 beers on tap, a wine list and signature drinks. The restaurant seats over 90 people and has a staff of about 15 employees and three chefs. The chefs, owner John Sarno said, are all quality experienced cooks who came from well-known restaurants such as Lombardi’s on the Bay and Tellers Steakhouse.

Sarno, originally from Centereach, now lives in a Patchogue home that he and his wife purchased back in February. He said after over 15 years of bartending at bars across Long Island and briefly pursuing a career in teaching, he found himself purchasing the bar located at 8 East Main Street in Patchogue on a whim.

“My family owns Budget Buy and Sell next door and I’ve been running around Patchogue since I was a kid,” he said, explaining that when the place went up for sale he couldn’t help but jump on the opportunity. “The next thing you know, I bought a bar.”

Two years ago the restaurant expanded, and a few months ago they opened up the east side windows to allow for seating with a breeze on both sides. “It has grown with Patchogue, which has seen a tremendous facelift and I was lucky to have been in the right place at the right time,” said Sarno, happy with the growth of his business.

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Menu items have quirky names to match the bar’s laidback name and atmosphere. Sarno said he got the name years ago while watching a report about a New York Islander’s contract dispute. He said when the Islanders’ general manager called a player’s agent a “village idiot,” the comical comment just stuck with him.

When he purchased the bar and was in need of a name, he said while in the shower he tried to think of something that went with Patchogue Village. Then, his memory served him well and the Village Idiot was born with a name that stuck. Conveniently, he added, the name also served as a great acronym, V.I.P.. “Some people get offended by the name, but you have to have a sense of humor,” he said, laughing.

The menu is packed with 17 appetizers, seven burgers plus an option to build your own burger, 13 wing sauces for bone-in or boneless wings, 12 sandwiches, eight salads, six signature dishes, three sliders, four wraps, three subs, three panini, three south-of-the-border options, two gluten-free options, soups, chili, sides, a kid’s menu and three dessert options. All menu items are reasonably priced, from smaller plates starting at just $5 to larger meals topping off at about $20. The average price for a decently sized plate is between $10 and $15. The majority of the food on the menu is homemade; even the blue cheese served is made in-house.

A V.I.P. favorite, the Sweet Jesus fries are too good to pass up. They are sweet-but-savory, delicious homemade sweet potato fries crusted in pecans, smothered in a gooey cinnamon-syrup sauce and paired with a maple syrup mayo. You can’t help but keep dipping.

Another option for an appetizer is the Mac-N-Cheese wedges. The wedges are filled with a creamy five-cheese filling, elbow pasta and bacon, breaded and deep-fried to crispy perfection and covered with gooey melted cheese. They are served with a refreshing Ranch side, an odd pairing that works with the heavy taste of any mac. Served as a plate of four the large wedges are shareable.

Then came the V.I.P. Cajun spiced and fire-grilled wings, which were tastefully charred and cooked just right, with beautiful white meat chicken. The wings are far from spicy with a taste you can’t find anywhere else. The red-stained sauce is sweet, but not too sweet, providing a flavor that will have you coming back for more.

When it came time for dinner, the friendly staff brought out three options, the marinated steak tidbits, a marinated burger, the idiot chicken francese and a side of homemade mashed potatoes.

The steak tidbits were covered in their signature marinade that was too good to reveal any hints of the recipe, topped with just the right amount of blue cheese crumble and accompanied by a few pieces of bread for dipping. The meat is a teres major cut from the blade of the shoulder. It was extremely tender, which required no unnecessary chewing. The perfectly sized tidbits melted in your mouth.

The eight-ounce fresh chop burger was covered in the same signature marinade, topped with pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes and lettuce, served on top of a perfectly grilled pretzel bun. The burger was mouthwatering and far from greasy. If you’re looking for a great burger at a good price, stop by V.I.P. and you won’t be disappointed.

The third option, to my surprise, was one of the best chicken francese I’ve ever had. The chicken breasts were large, making for a hearty meal that was plated with enough pasta to fill you up, but not with the usual uneatable amount some restaurants serve. The chicken was perfectly white with no veins or unwanted dark meat. It was coated lightly with a nice flour breading and the sauce was flavorful and lemony, just as francese should be.

“It’s a sports bar with quality food,” Sarno said. “It’s more about quality than quantity.”

All the recipes come from the chefs’ own creativity, with the main goal to put a twist on bar favorites.

V.I.P. serves weekly specials and breakfast seven days a week. Sarno said he prides himself on being one of the only joints in town doing breakfast. It’s something they do very well, he added; they serve everything from eggs benedict to pancakes and waffles.

The menu, he explained, is always in transition. About two months ago they added panini and a south-of-the-border section to accommodate customers’ wants. If an item doesn’t do well, he said, he isn’t ashamed to remove it from the menu to make room for something more pleasing. It’s all about the customers.

“There is nothing over the top. I know who I am and who I want to be,” he said. “You want to grab a bunch of appetizers and have a great burger, you come here.”

Not only does the place serve up great food, but it also knows how to draw a crowd, with live music, pasta nights, wing nights and more. Almost every day is different at the restaurant, with Turn it up Tuesdays, Reggae Thursdays and Local band Wednesdays. On Sundays, they even have a relaxing acoustic guitarist for breakfast.

“There is just so much energy here; all our staff are team players with a good sense of humor and work ethic,” said Maureen Passantino, four-year general manager. The best part about V.I.P., she said, are the customers.

“We have the best customers in the world from all different walks of life,” she said. Everyone loves bar food, which draws all age groups.

For a full menu, prices, specials and information about the Village Idiot Pub, visit their website at villageidiotpubli.com or give them a call at 289-8471.

 

Story By: NICOLE ALLEGREZZA read more here

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