Honu Sheds a New Look

By Kerriann Flanagan Brosky

Honu Kitchen and Cocktails, located in the heart of Huntington Village, is showing off a beautiful renovation along with its new fall menu. Gone are the heavy red velvet curtains and darker wood Honu was once known for. Instead, the space has been transformed through the use of inviting and cozy earth tones, which meld a variety of fabrics and textures. The mastermind behind the renovation was New York designer Jon Rios of Jonathan Vincent Designs.

“Huntington is the restaurant mecca of Long Island,” said Mark Zecher, Honu’s owner since 2011. “With ninety restaurants in town, there is tons of competition, so you always have to put money back, update and keep it fresh.”

Zecher described the previous look as dramatic, rich and heavy. He wanted to make the space, which seats 250 guests, much lighter and fresh. So the first thing that came down were the curtains. They were replaced with an earth tone, hemp color burlap fabric. The columns, which serve as a visual separation of bar and restaurant, were lightened up with pickling stain which shows the beautiful wood grain underneath. Towards the back of the restaurant where the fireplace is located, a pergola strung with delicate lights helps to bring the outdoors in. This is a fabulously, cozy area incorporating chenille walls which surround the newly redone stone and steel fireplace. A simplistic, iron ring chandelier hangs from above. Be sure to call ahead if you’d like the corner table in this area with its plush pillows and seating. It’s comfortable and homey.

Three-dimensional wood appears above the side booths, and were painted in a lighter wash which really helped to open up the room. The red ceilings above the booths and in the lounge area were replaced with a muted blue color.

“We had to come up with a new ‘pop’ color because we didn’t want a sea of earth tones,” said Zecher. “So we decided to go with a muted blue, and then add hints of it around the restaurant to tie it together. It’s not too aggressive or strong.”

In the lounge area, along with the ceiling color change, a new area rug pulled everything together, as did the addition of a light gray, ship lap barn board. The look works against the exposed brick which surrounds the magnificent bar. For the most part, the bar has remained the same, with the exception of the art work. Mini pots containing succulents, herbs and lavender, are attached to steel grates and catch the shadows from the lights.

Another big change at Honu was the perimeter lighting. For the bar area they stayed with a candelabra format, and for the booths, lounge area and stairs, Maxim fixtures were added which have a Zen-like quality to them. The overlapping shapes of the fixtures are round and oval, and offer a calming, peaceful feel. The only design element which has remained the same are the five, elegant crystal chandeliers which hang along the length of the restaurant.

“We decided to keep our signature chandeliers which everyone loves,” said Zecher. “They still serve as a conversation piece, but the surrounding lighting was very outdated, very ornate and very dark, almost medieval looking. Now the perimeter lighting source has tied everything together.”

Even the custom-made, ceramic tile and steel lighted hostess stand, which replaced an old wood podium, beckons guest to enter this tastefully remodeled, shabby chic space, which is both inviting and warm. It is a perfect match for the wonderful, seasonal new American cuisine which is prepared daily by Chef Koji Kakimoto.

“We have to please a lot of palettes,” said Zecher. “So we tried to design a menu, a cocktail list and a comfortable space where there is something for everybody.”