ROTO Returns to Bay Shore

Roto’s comeback within the Shoregate apartment complex in downtown Bay Shore is eagerly anticipated. Photo courtesy of TRITEC Real Estate Development & Construction.

The dearly departed Bay Shore restaurant Roto is making its triumphant return to Bay Shore this summer, at the Shoregate apartment complex on 4th Avenue. The restaurant’s owners, Jack Monahan and Islip native Brock Ferraro, signed a release for one of Shoregate’s storefronts with TRITEC, the East Setauket-based real estate company who built the apartments.

“Roto is a perfect fit for Shoregate,” said Christopher Mahoney, a developer associate for TRITEC. “They’re a local business that fosters a sense of community. Their dedication to providing exceptional food and service will enhance the residential experience, and contribute significantly to Shoregate’s distinctive character as a community deeply rooted in local character.”

Roto, which originally opened on Main Street as Roto Grocery in December of 2022, quickly became a popular breakfast and lunch spot among South Shore residents, due to their fresh, high-quality ingredients and dynamic menu. According to Roto’s website, the eatery’s name is a nod to the word “Rotation”, due to the restaurant rotating its menu every season, which features sandwiches, salads, and coffee.

“They make incredible banana bread and their rotating soups always hit,” one Yelp reviewer wrote in January of last year. “The menu is always changing based on what’s in season and fresh!”

Roto’s location is also no coincidence. The eatery’s new home is located less than a mile away from Fire Island’s ferry terminals, which, as any resident of Bay Shore will tell you, can easily get filled with beach-going weekend warriors. Due to the tight parking that usually fills up the terminals during the summer, many Fire Island vacationers decide to walk to their ferry, often passing by and purchasing from the local businesses along the way as time permits.

Roto’s comeback within the Shoregate apartment complex in downtown Bay Shore is eagerly anticipated. Photo courtesy of TRITEC Real Estate Development & Construction.

“We hope to offer breakfast and lunch sandwiches to people on their way to Fire Island, while also serving our existing customer base and becoming a staple to the residents of Shoregate,” said Monahan. “This location allows us to expand our offerings and cater to a broader audience,” added Ferraro.

Monahan and Ferraro met while attending the College of Charleston as roommates, and took inspiration from Charleston’s cafes and New York City’s own Court Street Grocers for their business.

Roto and its new home both stand to benefit from their proximity to the ferries. Built as part of TRITEC’s plan to revitalize Suffolk County’s downtown areas, Shoregate was intentionally placed near the Fire Island ferry terminal and the Bay Shore train station to emphasize walkability, a recent trend in urban planning.

Angie Carpenter, the Town of Islip’s Supervisor, praised Shoregate’s forward-thinking design in a recent HIA-LI panel at the Boulton Center. “It totally exemplifies what transit-oriented development should be,” Carpenter said. “Shoregate has 400-plus apartments that are absolutely gorgeous. It’s across the street from the train station, there’s a bus stop in front, it’s half a block to downtown, two blocks to the Fire Island ferries, and an Uber ride away from MacArthur Airport. It doesn’t get more transit-oriented than that.”

Decades after the South Shore Mall’s opening and Pilgrim State’s downsizing resulted in a downturn of Bay Shore small businesses, Roto and Shoregate are poster children for Bay Shore’s revitalization, embodying new beginnings for both families and business owners. Both the restaurant and the apartments are perfect representations for Bay Shore’s unique opportunities, its appealing businesses, and its natural beauty.

“This will be a model for a revitalized downtown,” said John Walser, the Town of Islip’s Executive Director of Economic Development, at the HIA-LI panel. “It’s only the beginning.”