Our Town: Building’s history lives on at Copperhill

Dr Tom Ferraro

Two years ago I reviewed La Marmite, Williston Park’s high end and historic restaurant located at 234 Hillside Avenue just west of the police station. 

The building was the old Collins farmhouse built back in 1905 and La Marmite offered up old-world charm, professional service and French-Northern Italian food.  

Two years ago the Kearns purchased the restaurant and modernized it in a number of ways.

It has been renamed Copperhill and from the outside looks more sleek and modern. I asked our resident architect Jared Mandel to describe the new look and he said that the darkened windows were part of the new wave in architecture. When you enter and look around you again see the sleek modern spacious look but with farmhouse  feel to soften things up a bit. 

The floors are wood as are the tables. The walls are white, the curtains white and there is subtle overhead lighting.

 The new owners now have executive chef Gregory Kearns, chef de cuisine Peter Soreca and Bari Kearns running things. 

I stopped by for some lunch this week and got to know more about Gregory Kearns.  

He was educated at Chaminade and studied accounting at Boston College but his life was changed when he took a summer break to Spain between junior and senior years.  

As many who have seen Europe will attest to, becoming immersed in the European lifestyle has a significant effect.  Greg described how much he enjoyed his summer of leisure, the laid back lifestyle, the wonderful food and the family orientation.  He experienced what the Italians call La Dolce Far Niente or the sweetness of doing nothing.  Nothing quite like it. 

And when Greg returned to America and he decided to devote his life to food.  He knew people in Philadelphia who owned restaurants and thus began his journey. Soon enough he enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and worked at the West End Restaurant where he met his wife Bari. Overtime he was hired back to teach at the French Culinary Institute and finally took over La Marmite.

The restaurant still offers high end American and French fare with amiable service and a polished and airy atmosphere.  

Their pastry is made by Kate Snider and all ice cream is home made just like Hildebrandt’s. .

It is good to see that the legacy of both the Collins farmhouse and La Marmite is alive and well under the tender care of the Kearns. Welcome to Williston Park. 

And long live la dolce far niente.

About the author

Dr Tom Ferraro

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