Ivy is Huntington’s new hip Italian restaurant
For social media marketer Zack Barrotta, trend is everything.
A lifelong resident of Huntington, Barrotta knew the downtown nightlife was fertile ground for a new restaurant. That said, it has strived to create a vibe that departs from much of the city scene.
“I wanted to do something hip, modern, new,” Barrotta, 28, said. “Huntington has lots of pubs, old bars. We want to do something new here – make it feel like you’re not in Huntington Village.
Barrotta, his younger brother Michael and childhood friend Ryan DiPaola opened the Ivy Kitchen and Bar at 65 Wall St. in November.
As he brought his knowledge of social media to the fold, Barrotta said his brother’s analytical mind for business and DiPaola’s hands-on experience opening his own restaurants – Shrimpy’s Burrito Bar sites in Huntington and Massapequa – rounded out a diverse team.
Their new Italian-American restaurant boasts a sleek design, from its cushioned seating along the wall to its lavender backlit bar and dining room wall lights.
As the name suggests, the Instagram-ready ivy decorum that extends from above secures the restaurant’s status as a fashion-forward newcomer.
The name “Ivy” isn’t just a nod to the popular design trend. It’s also a tribute to the bond that Barrotta and his three brothers share. Their group chats are labeled “IV”, the Roman numeral for four.
“Phones Eat First”
The value of social media cannot stop at interior design. Barrotta said the dishes coming out of the kitchen had to burst. He regularly posts photos and videos of his chefs, and he knows he needs his diners to follow suit.
“Phones eat first,” he said. “Your eyes eat first, you see something you like, you want to take a picture of it. We wanted this place to be kind of social media driven in a way.
Barrotta said the restaurant’s various steaks and salads, from its tomahawk rib eye to its beetroot salad, are some of its most photogenic dishes.
Ivy’s best seller, the brazenly misspelled and lavishly garnished Barrotta rigatoni, also gets its fair share of shutter clicks.
“They literally put bits of burrata on the Barrotta with tongs and stuff,” Barrotta said.
Waiting for spring
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrotta said the restaurant has done well since it opened on Thanksgiving Eve.
Ivy operates as a dine-in venue, while catering to the bar scene with DJs and dancing on weekend nights. But he does not plan to stick to one or two models for long.
Barrotta has expanded dining options at brunch. It is also preparing for other changes down the line.
“We wanted to open up and do one thing at a time, start with dinner and then add brunch,” he said. “We’re going to add live music, we’re going to add entertainment. We want to do happy hour. We have a big patio that we can open up, so I’m excited about that for the spring.
“If this thing is a good model, we’ll try to bring something like this to different cities or places,” Barrotta added.