Often referred to as the "gateway to the Hamptons," the hamlet of Center Moriches in the southeast portion of Brookhaven town houses around 7,500 residents. This south shore village has evolved over the years yet maintains its endearing residential spaces and simple access to the bay and beaches.
Conveniently, Main Street in Center Moriches is where most of the local businesses are located. Major roads and ample public transportation make getting around the village and traveling elsewhere a cinch. Prospective residents can feel reassured raising their children in this small, safe community with well-regarded living complexes and schools. Outdoor parks and beaches dot the neighborhood, invigorating locals with the sights and sounds of the picturesque backdrop in Center Moriches.
Restaurants & Nightlife
While not possessing the largest variety of restaurants in the area, Center Moriches' prominent Italian eateries certainly stand out above competing villages. La Volpe Restaurant & Anton Pizzeria is a community staple that has operated in the neighborhood for over 20 years. Many consider it the best Italian restaurant on the south shore with its intimate decor and authentic homemade cuisine drawing rave reviews. You won't find simple chicken parm here (although staff will make it if requested); instead, original creations and regional Italian specialties adorn the menu. Take the plunge and try the almond-crusted flounder with buerre blanc or the oven-roasted goat cheese stuffed figs with fig and red wine reduction over prosciutto. Topping off the cuisine is a considerable inventory of specialty wines at the bar area.
Open year round but ideal for the summer months, the under-the-radar Senix Creek Inn on Senix Avenue in Center Moriches prides itself on its casual, friendly service and traditional fare. Its location right next to a marina means attractive views overlooking the water, and a bar and a seating area are situated on the patio. The solid menu offers classic, tasty entrees such as steamed mussels or skirt steak topped with blue cheese. The restaurant promotes frequent specials with the large portions yielding value without hurting the wallet.
The nightlife in Center Moriches revolves around the local bars and pubs with even the aforementioned restaurants providing substantial bar sections. For a more traditional pub, Buckley's Irish Pub on Main Street makes a fun hangout destination and features televised sports games and recurrent live bands and music. The tap selection is immense and includes Angry Orchard hard cider on tap for those not privy to beers.
History & Culture
Land in the Center Moriches area was purchased and settled by the Europeans in the late 1600s, and the village was named in honor of a notable Native American. Farming and fishing were popular occupations in the community. The Long Island Railroad reached Center Moriches by 1881, and with it came tourism, turning the village into a popular summer vacation spot for wealthy New York City residents. The late 20th century saw a revitalization of Center Moriches into a middle-class suburb with an influx of permanent residents.
In modern times, The Moriches Bay Historical Society preserves the neighborhood's history through educational programs and exhibitions from its museum in the Tuttle Barn. The RoyaleNova Performing Arts studio in Center Moriches develops young dance talent and features a state-of-the-art facility and a proven track record. The annual County Western Night brings together BBQ, drinks and live music for this fundraising event in Center Moriches.
Travel options in Center Moriches are plentiful. The major road of Sunrise Highway borders the north of Center Moriches, and Montauk Highway (called Main Street locally) passes through towards the middle of the neighborhood, containing many of the local businesses. Free public parking exists along shopping and other business areas, while the quieter residential sectors provide safe opportunities for bike riding and walking.
All County Taxi & Car Service, Long Island South Shore Car Service and Uber give residents an abundance of cab options. Suffolk County Transit provides the neighborhood with a few bus routes — a valuable means to connect to surrounding areas quickly and cheaply. When commuting by train, Center Moriches residents use either the Mastic-Shirley or Speonk stations of the Long Island Railroad. The Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma is the major hub for air travel in the region.
Center Moriches is about even with the rest of the town of Brookhaven when it comes to cost of living — both are above average in comparison to national averages. While housing prices in the neighborhood can be steep, there are widely varying expenses depending on the exact living complex; renting a one bedroom residence in Center Moriches will typically cost about $1,400 a month.
As a sample of some of the daily costs of living in Center Moriches, the Suffolk County Transit buses will take you to surrounding villages for a cost of just $2 with a further discount for students. Head to the local pubs in the neighborhood and pay about $6 for a beer. Gas prices in Center Moriches are about 10 percent greater than national averages.
Shoppers in Center Moriches are treated to a rich blend of popular chain locations and congenial independently owned shops, which are mostly grouped along Main Street. Whether its clothing, food or other goods, Center Moriches has everything residents need right in the neighborhood.
With a flexible array of apparel for women and men, Tough Stitch Embroidery on Main Street reaches a broad audience in the village. A vast amount of brands are represented here with the colors, style and personal customization customers crave. A family business since its inception in 1954, Rico's Clothing on Railroad Avenue is the premiere neighborhood shop for boy's and men's formal wear. Tuxedos, suits and dress shirts populate the store, and free custom tailoring services are available on in-store purchases.
Center Moriches residents often shop for groceries at the local Waldbaum's and King Kullen supermarkets. The Atlantic Seafood Fish Market on Main Street sells some of the freshest fish you'll find in the vicinity. Head to Nettie's Farm and Market in Center Moriches for great farm and baked goods. The market has its own large garden on the premises and attracts locals for its high-quality flowers, vegetables, fruits and pastries.
Center Moriches' beautiful setting presents stellar outdoor parks, beaches and activities. Spend a day with the kids at Webby's Park on Laura Lee Drive for the large playground and quiet beach overlooking the bay with a view of Smith Point in the distance. Kalers Pond Park is another tranquil park in Center Moriches, inviting locals to take a break from their busy lives to simply absorb the scene at this charming pond; residents often bring beach chairs to watch the ducks and other wildlife interact in and around the water.
Perhaps the most acclaimed park in Center Moriches, the Terrell River County Park has a huge expansive beach and park for hiking and offers a welcoming hand towards pets as long as they are leashed. The peaceful mile or so trail at this carry-in, carry-out park concludes at the beach. Parking can be scarce, especially considering the popularity, so it is recommended you visit during the earlier hours of the day.
Yearly events in Center Moriches grant residents the chance to participate in and contribute to the active neighborhood community. The annual Center Moriches Fall Festival on Main Street features vendors, artists, a petting zoo and additional kid-friendly attractions. Parades march down the streets in a celebratory fervor for special occasions such as Memorial Day and Saint Patrick's Day, while December brings a spectacular light show and an enthusiastic Santa in his fire truck.