East Williston native Brendan Banks has returned to the place he calls home to open up his first restaurant, BRENDOS.
The restaurant, which will welcome customers in early August at 82 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park, will specialize in heroes with a selection of cheese steaks, burgers and other sandwiches.
“I’m focused on making my heroes next level,” Banks said in an interview with Blank Slate Media. “High-end ingredients, local butcher-made sausage, all-natural chicken cutlets, it won’t be deli-style.”
BRENDOS will be Banks’ first venture on his own after growing up in the industry and being a part-time owner of other establishments, including Elsie Lane Wing House in Huntington.
BRENDOS, named after the childhood nickname he was given by the chefs at T.J. Pooles, his father’s restaurant in Mineola, Banks said he’s looking to fill a space in the area for quality sandwiches instead of leaving town.
“I feel like getting a great cheese steak requires you to either go to Brooklyn, New Jersey or a carnival,” Banks said. “I think this will be filling a void that people are going to love.”
Banks took a pause from working in the restaurant business to join the U.S. Army when he was 18 after graduating from The Wheatley School. He served four tours, three in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, before being honorably discharged as a staff sergeant.
Upon returning home, Banks went back to cooking in New York City for a few years before returning to Long Island and helping to open other restaurants in which he currently has partnerships.
At BRENDOS, he’s also going to be the chef and work alongside a small staff of three to four people who he has had experience with at previous stops.
“The places I grew up in were always more sit-down style and high end,” said Banks, now a Mineola resident. “But heroes were always my favorite thing.”
Banks said he’s confident in what the restaurant will be able to provide the community and hopes he’s already seen every challenge possible from his lifetime of experience.
“I’m pretty sure people are going to be happy with what they get out of the store,” Banks said. “I’m happy to be back in the neighborhood I grew up in. I think the entire neighborhood is going to love the food and I plan on being here forever.”