RIVERHEAD, NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For third-generation owner Anthony Meras, the diners at Star Confectionery are more than customers.
"You're my friend as soon as you walk in," he said.
On busy weekends, the booths and counter seats fill with summer residents or visitors from the city. But on quiet winter days, he depends on year-round locals.
"They're my heart and soul. They're my everything," he said. "There are people that just come in and sit in the same booth."
The 19th-century building was a Main Street general store before Anthony's family took over.
"In 1911, my grandfather's cousin came in, and he built the parlor as what it is today," he said.
His grandfather Nicholas Meras, a candy maker from Greece, earned the restaurant its enduring nickname, Papa Nick's.
When his father Anthony Nicholas Meras inherited the business, he also left his mark. His recent death was grieved by many.
"He was the engine, and he was the motor of this place," Anthony said. "He was this corner of Riverhead."
As for Anthony, his first few days on the job were a challenge.
"I burnt a lot of eggs," he said.
Decades later, sautéing mushrooms and folding omelets come second nature.
He also makes ice cream the way his uncle and father taught him.
"I can do that with my eyes closed as well," he said.
For Anthony, the history of the place holds deep meaning.
"I have regulars that come in that they came in with their grandparents," he said.
He takes pride in carrying the torch.
"It's a great legacy and tradition to have," he said.
4 E Main St
Riverhead, NY 11901
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