Longevity may not be the norm with restaurants today, but H2O in Smithtown has managed to last 11 years in its West Main Street location, helmed by brothers and co-owners Michael and Kurt Bohlsen.
Michael attributes much of the restaurant’s success to the loyalty of its guests.
“The people here are very genuine, they’re very loyal,” he said. “We’ve developed a lot of relationships with the people that live right behind us and all around us.”
While loyalty may keep the doors open, it’s the food that brings the guests in.
“Seafood is generally pretty delicate and you don’t want to over-flavor it or over-sauce it,” Kurt said. “Generally speaking light sauces and light flavorings do best … we buy the best food we could buy.”
Michael stated while there are items on the menu that have been there since the restaurant opened that much of the H2O cuisine is “a twist on American seafood.”
“Most of it is somewhat modern and interesting but not off the beaten path where you don’t recognize the ingredients,” he said.
The food is been prepared by Michael Meehan, the head chef at H2O of three years in August, a chef that the brothers rave about.
In the 11 years open the restaurant has opened an outdoor seating section, a sushi bar that made its debut nine years ago, and a bar, which the brothers are currently looking to expand into more of a lounge area.
Although H2O has been in Smithtown for 11 years, the building has been with the family since the 1970s.
“My father bought this building I think in 1976, there’s a picture of my brother and I when we were 5-years-old when it was Arby’s,” Kurt said. “It’s great to be some place for a long time, it’s nice to know the community appreciates us. We’re serving good food to a great community.”
With the 11-year anniversary comes a treat for its customers – a price fixe menu. Since the anniversary lands in October, which is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the restaurant will offer a “Think Pink” price fixe menu all month but will add an option of $10 for unlimited wine with the menu from Oct. 8-14 for the anniversary.
The menu is $40 for a three-course meal, and throughout October the restaurant will donate $1 per appetizer and $2 per entrée ordered to a variety of local breast cancer coalitions.
October provides an annual milestone the brothers could look forward to, which is a reminder of the hard work and dedication to quality cuisine only possible with the high standards the ownership has set forth.
“There aren’t many restaurants that make it that long. The fact that we’re still going strong is something we take a lot of pride in,” Michael said. “It’s difficult to maintain a standard of excellence over such a long period of time … H2O is better than it’s ever been.”