Not in Westchester County?
September 23, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Pizzeria entrepreneurs branch out to southern cuisine in Pleasantville

When you think of the Westchester County food scene, chances are your mind doesn’t fill with thoughts of down-home, southern cooking. But a new Pleasantville restaurant is hoping to change that.

“I’m thinking we’re going to be a real destination,” said Michael Ferrara, owner of newly opened eatery Southern Table. “I’m hoping to have a line out the door.”

Ferrara, along with business partners Gerry Petraglia, Frank Carenza and Mike DiCostanzo, opened the 2,400-square-foot dining spot at 39 Marble Ave. last month.

Michael Ferrara, owner of newly opened eatery Southern Table in Pleasantville. Photo by Aleesia Forni.

Southern Table is just a block away from another restaurant owned by Ferrara and his partners, Wood and Fire. The group opened the pizzeria and Italian restaurant in 2015.

As for Southern Table, “There’s nothing like this in Westchester,” Ferrara said. “You don’t see this anywhere. So far, it’s been really well received, and it’s been busy everyday since we opened.”

The menu, created by Wood and Fire’s own chef, offers a variety of southern staples, such as fried chicken, deviled eggs, shrimp and grits, pulled pork and fried green tomatoes. There’s even a section of the menu devoted entirely to mac and cheese. Cocktails range from a “Rhinestone Cowboy” to a cheekily named “White Trash Mojito.”

“I feel like there are a lot of people out there looking for this,” said the Westchester native. “It’s an even bigger market than people knew about.”

“Everybody thought I was a little crazy, because we went from opening a Wood and Fire to a southern restaurant real quick, but once this was built, it really started to kind of make sense for everybody,” he said.

Prior to returning to Westchester earlier this year, the Dobbs Ferry resident spent the last few years living in southern Florida, opening a second Wood and Fire location in Delray Beach.

“There were a lot of restaurants like this in south Florida, and I figured if southern comfort food works in south Florida, why wouldn’t it work in New York?” he said.

Southern Table is housed on the ground floor of a newly constructed building on what was once the site of a Pizza Hut restaurant, which was demolished to make way for the new structure.

“(The building’s owners) were looking at a restaurant, so instead of somebody else opening in my neck of the woods, I decided to come up with a new concept and open up right here,” he said. “Wood and Fire is an Italian restaurant with a modern twist, so we decided to do a southern restaurant with modern twist.”

In the spirit of Wood and Fire, the restaurant also houses a wood-burning grill.

“We’re called the Wood and Fire group, so it really sticks to who we are,” he said.

The restaurant, which opens at 4 p.m., features an open kitchen, exposed pipes and white brick walls, metal chairs, an outdoor patio with plush seating for the warmer months and more than 80 varieties of bourbon displayed above the bar.

“We’re hoping to work it up to about 300” types of bourbon, Ferrara said.

Though Ferrara has now opened a trio of restaurants in just under three years — the latest opening just a few weeks ago — he doesn’t plan on slowing down just yet and is already planning his next venture.

“There’s not another place in Westchester County where I see myself opening a Wood and Fire,” he said. “I think we’d have to branch out to Long Island or outside of the state. Our goal is to eventually take both of these concepts nationwide.”

That vision is especially true for his newest venture, Southern Table.

“This store is really scalable,” he said of the new eatery. “We could take it all over the country.

“I don’t have another restaurant in the pipeline, but we’re always looking.”