The Harbor Grill in Port Jefferson, a popular spot for Stony Brook students, saw a change in ownership this past week.
Indu Kaur — whose family owns The Curry Club, the Velvet Lounge and The Meadow Club — said that her family signed for the restaurant on Feb. 3.
The purchase follows a controversy last spring when a Stony Brook graduate was turned away for wearing a turban, provoking outrage on social media and threats of a potential lawsuit. The previous owners later apologized and claimed that hats and headgear aren’t allowed after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but the story still hit national media.
“We don’t know what really happened, so we can’t comment,” Kaur said.
“We greet anybody — anybody can come,” Kulwant Wadhwa, co-owner of the Harbor Grill and Kaur’s father, cut in. “And that is for the community and it is for the students, for everyone.”
The family started hosting parties at the Harbor Grill during the week after a 2018 fire at The Meadow Club. They discovered that the restaurant was “pretty much closed” during the week — currently, the Harbor Grill is only open for limited hours over the winter. A real estate broker eventually approached Wadhwa, and the family decided to buy it.
“So we are going to resume what the business has been doing in here for right now,” Kaur said. “We are planning a couple more exciting events that we are going to be announcing, but we just don’t have all the logistics yet because it’s just very, very new.”
The new owners plan to keep the restaurant open seven days a week with longer hours and introduce a host of other changes, including a cocktail menu and “finger foods” at the bar.
Kaur said that they’re also considering holding ladies nights, paint nights, couples nights for middle-aged adults and Sunday morning brunch parties. She hopes to eventually hold a Bollywood night and added that they’re very open to hosting fundraisers and parties for Stony Brook clubs and organizations.
Wadhwa also emphasized that the upstairs portion of the restaurant will consistently offer live music and that they hope to find student musicians from Stony Brook willing to perform there.
“Stony Brook has some nice bands that they would like to come and have a place to play and have their own followers, that we are open to opening up live music every day, afternoon and dinner,” Kaur added.
Rebecca Proscia, a junior health science major and singer-songwriter at Stony Brook, said that she’s “so glad” to hear that more venues are opening up for student musicians.
“I already planned to perform this week at the Velvet Lounge, and would definitely consider performing at the Harbor Grill as well,” she said. “Student musicians bring such a vibrant and inspiring take on music to gigs and open mics, and I encourage even more opportunities for us to show our passion for sound.”
Students interested in performing at the Harbor Grill should call Kaur and send her videos or recordings of past performances.
“We can promote them on our Facebook, on all our social media, give them exposure,” she said. “So they can bring more clout to us and we can open up the cash bar, have some affordable food, give them the exposure. They bring the people, we bring the people; it will be a good relationship.”
Sarah Cudia, a senior business management major, normally goes to the Harbor Grill on Saturdays during the semester. She said that she’s excited about the idea of a ladies’ night and that offering a venue for student musicians is “awesome.”
“I hope the owners still keep it as a bar because I know everyone loves it there,” she said.