Already featuring a pizzeria, bagel shop, an organic food market and a Chinese restaurant, the Tiana Shopping Center on West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays likely will add another option to its diverse selection of dining options before summer’s end: Southwestern Tex-Mex.Occupying half the space left behind by Blockbuster at 252 West Montauk Highway, Moe’s Southwest Grill has a tentative opening date of Thursday, August 8, franchise owner Guy Constantopoulos said this week.
Marking its territory with two bright signs in its windows, the soon-to-be burrito joint is undergoing interior alterations, as well as an exterior redesign, to give it the distinguished Moe’s look, minus one detail: the national chain’s “dancing man” silhouette logo. The Southampton Town Architectural Review Board asked that the chain’s logo, typically installed above the front awning of its restaurants, be left off the facade.
“We were never given an explanation why, but we were happy to comply with what they wanted,” Mr. Constantopoulos said.
After opening a Moe’s in Rocky Point last year and conducting some market research, Mr. Constantopoulos said he expects there to be a demand for Tex-Mex style food. There are 475 Moe’s franchises nationwide, including 48 in New York and nine on Long Island.
He hopes that his restaurant’s location, as well as its reputation for fresh food, will draw a large customer base from throughout the South Fork. Once it opens, the Hampton Bays location will be the only Moe’s on the East End.
“Hampton Bays has been my hometown my entire life, and I’m glad I can open up this new business here,” he said.
Mr. Constantopoulos also owns three 7-Eleven convenience stores in Suffolk County, including those located on Route 58 in Riverhead, West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays and Montauk Highway in East Quogue. He is leasing the space for Moe’s from the Alrose Hampton Bays, LLC, which is owned by Wilbur F. Breslin.
The first permits for the restaurant were submitted to the town in early January and approved later that month with a few caveats, such as the removal of the dancing man logo and restrictions on exterior paint. The back half of the former Blockbuster space remains unoccupied.
East Quogue resident Miguel Flores, who visits the shopping center on a weekly basis, said he is looking forward to having a new way to vary his dining out options.
“It can be good to try to bring in something different,” Mr. Flores said.
Margaret Naughton of Hampton Bays, who stops by the shopping center almost every day, said Moe’s will be a positive addition both in terms of dining variety and economics.
“Oh, it’s definitely a good thing,” she said. “It’s always good to have more employment.”