Only an hour or so from Nassau County is one of my favorite places on Earth – wine country, a.k.a., the North Fork. It’s ironic that I grew up out east and never visited wine country when I lived there. Now that I’ve moved away, I always seem to be heading back there.
The Riverhead Ciderhouse (http://www.riverheadcider.com/ ) had been one of the places on my bucket list. I knew it would be insanely crowded on a Saturday or Sunday before Halloween, so I decided to go on a Friday. The plan was to get there when it opened at 11 am, but of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, my husband and I got there about 12ish.
The parking lot was already about a quarter full. It was a gorgeous fall day and I liked the way the outside was decorated before we went in. There was an old truck outside decorated for fall, as well as a giant apple with a hole cut out in the middle that you could sit in or put your head in for a great photo.
As soon as we walked in, we were greeted and told that we must first purchase food from the cafe before we purchased any ciders. We were handed a buzzer after we ordered the food and got a receipt to show the bartender so we could order some ciders. We took our cider sampling ($12 for a flight of four flavors) outside and the buzzer went off soon after we sat down with the ciders. The cafe looked like a small cafeteria. We ordered the most delicious giant hot pretzel that came with mustard and cheese dipping sauce. It was filling enough for two people but we also bought a chicken Parmesan hero. I didn’t expect much from the hero but I was pleasantly surprised. It was juicy and quite flavorful.
The place was huge and roomy and there was plenty of room between the tables. There was ample seating both indoors and outside. It looked like the perfect place for a birthday celebration or a bachelorette party. They have live music on the weekends. It must look very pretty at night with white lights strung across overhead. Since it was beautiful out, we sat outside. The only downside was the annoying bees. We ordered a sampling of four ciders but we got two of the Cinnamon Toast, one Apple Annie and one Black Berry Habanero. The Cinnamon Toast had a rimmed glass dipped in cinnamon and sugar. It was to die for! We put them on the end of the table after we drank them and it kept the bees busy and away from us for a while. We also enjoyed the Apple Annie so we went back for two regular size glasses of it. The Black Berry Habanero was also very tasty and it had a nice kick to it. There were two different options to purchase cider to go. You could order anything they had on tap – we decided to get the Cinnamon Toast to go and they put it in an aluminum can and sealed the top with a flip top. It is also a nice keepsake because it said the Riverhead Ciderhouse on the front. There was also a very nice glass growler option to get cider to go and that was $8.00 more than the aluminum can.
I was surprised to see some children there. Parents at a nearby table were playing the UNO card game with their two small children outside. I never would have thought of bringing kids there, but why not? It’s a nice place for kids and adults. I would definitely visit the Ciderhouse again!