Saltaire Market

100 Broadway, Saltaire NY 11706
(631) 583-5522 •

A line at the register is a strong sign of the neighborhood popularity of Saltaire Market.

100 Broadway, Saltaire NY 11706
(631) 583-5522 •

By Shoshanna McCollum

When we review a restaurant in this publication, we often write about a single dining experience – but once in a while we detour to one of the grocery stores on Fire Island. The markets provide the food that sustain us, and this is perhaps nowhere more keenly felt than in the sense of community at Saltaire Market.

Inside this lush green village, the market is one of the only acts in town. It is the place to buy produce and pantry staples, deli items, fresh shellfish and meats, but it also doubles as a pizza and ice cream parlor. In this bucolic piece of Fire Island, Saltaire Market serves as a hub of activity with its sprawling deck for outdoor dining, while offering delivery and catering services.

Patrick Adams, concessioner of Saltaire Market.

Owned by the Incorporated Village of Saltaire, Patrick and Melissa Adams have been the store’s contracted concessioners since the grand white building opened its doors for business in 2016.

I’ve known this couple for a long time. Before there were pandemic families on Fire Island, there were 9/11 families and Pat and Melissa were one of them, with their son Alex who was in grade school at the time. They have been here ever since, first becoming managers of Le Dock in Fair Harbor, which helped built its reputation as a “go to” place on the west end of Fire Island – a tradition now upheld by our friend Michael Miller.

Oddly enough we had trouble tapping a reporter to accept this assignment, but my refrigerator was empty so I figured why not me?

“What news could possibly be in Saltaire?” asked a woman who noticed my press pass as we waited for Fire Island Water Taxi. When I told her my mission, she became more animated. “Oh, then you have to try the doughnuts!”

Doughnuts made fresh on the premises daily.

Believe me, no one has to twist my arm to sample pastry, but I was looking to put dinner on the table that night. As I navigated my little shopping cart down the aisles, there was quite a bit of information to take in. The dairy section had the usual fare you might find in any supermarket, but eggs and milk from local farmers were also an option. Same with the coffee – many usual brands I recognized, but also some gourmet labels that were new to me. The fruit and vegetables were beautiful, and the meats and deli cases were impressive indeed. I also saw the doughnuts that woman was talking about, and yes, one wound up in my cart.

Still my ultimate goal was putting dinner on the table that night, so I searched much like I would on the mainland. Rotisserie chicken? Check! A little salad would go nicely with that, and I see they sell fresh greens and have some beautiful tomatoes. I already had rice at home. Then I noticed the lovely artisan breads loaves, as well as the day-old ones at a discount, and Shoshanna loves a good deal. The mangoes also looked good. I prefer the yellow kidney shaped ones over the red ones, so that’s what I grabbed, along with an ear of corn – there was a recipe found online I’ve been meaning to try.

It is around then that I ran into Pat Adams who looked surprised to see me. I did come unannounced.

He quickly examined the items in my cart.
“Day old bread? You don’t want that,” he muttered.

Before I knew it, he had commandeered my cart and started a process of adding and removing items.

“Good!” he said agreeing with my choice of mangoes. “And I see you found the doughnuts. We make them on premises you know.”

Through this process, he ended up giving me a tour of the place. I learned Saltaire Market had a butcher license in place, and that’s why the meat looks so good. He showed me some mouth- watering brisket like a proud father might – and who could blame him?

Then he guided me to a freezer case I had not noticed full of frozen soups.

“Our homemade soup can double as sauces. Take this one home and have it over some of that chicken,” he suggested as he handed me a tall container of red lentil.

Finally, he showed me their same day catering menu – selections rotate throughout the summer – I went for the penne alla vodka with seafood, because it is a personal favorite dish and one that to me serves as a benchmark on how well everything else is prepared. This one had a rich, creamy sauce over al dente pasta, while loaded with shrimp, calamari and chunks of fish.

Before I left, I could not help but notice the display of handcrafted outdoor shower soaps. Patrick confessed it is something of a hobby for him over the winter. He gifted me a cake of the lemongrass scented one, layered in color to resemble a Fire Island sunset.

When I took this bounty home, I sampled a little of everything, because I live alone now and I can. All of it was scrumptious, but the standout item was the rotisserie chicken that was perhaps the most succulent bird I ever had. That chicken ended up being in various dishes complied in my kitchen over the following week, including one with that spicy red lentil soup over basmati rice. The last scraps ultimately went to the cats.

Food from the market is food to live on, and we should all live well.