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Cilantro To Spice Up Another Village 

Cilantro owner Artie Berke and manager Hayden Henze, who also managed Wild Rocket, hope the Mexican-inspired fast food restaurant will add flavor to the Huntington village dining scene this December.

Artie Berke’s philosophy is if you can make it as a storeowner in Northport, you can make it in Huntington village.

That is his hope for Cilantro, a Mexican-inspired fast food restaurant that will open in Huntington village in December when Berke will take over the former Wild Rocket sandwich shop at 376 New York Ave.

With a location in Northport open for less than one year, Cilantro offers an array of menu options that differ slightly from traditional “authentic” Mexican food.

“It’s a little twist on Mexican. A lot of people are familiar with flavors beyond the authentic feel, and that’s what we’re trying to do here, “Berke said.

Cilantro’s style offers Mexican flavors with a twist, such as mango salsa, chipotle seasoning, and at the Huntington location, churros. Orders—which can be prepared in “less than one minute”—will be taken in an assembly line fashion, in which patrons can “make their own” custom taco or burrito.

The New York Avenue location was the perfect fit for his culinary concept, Berke explained, noting its proximity to The Paramount theater and the high volume of foot traffic in the area. Berke hopes the “grab and go” concept—similar to what Wild Rocket owners envisioned when they opened earlier this year—will appeal to those who want a quickly prepared meal and a casual atmosphere in which to enjoy it.

Berke, who also owns Nina’s Pizza in Northport, purchased the property in late October and began a non-intrusive renovation of the interior, allowing the Wild Rocket business to continue operating during the transition.

As of Tuesday, the walls had been repainted, steamers were installed, and chalkboards hung up on the wall behind the counter. Over the next several weeks, additional changes to the restaurant’s interior, including the addition of signature skeleton-themed artwork from a local Northport artist, will come to fruition before the official soft opening.

Wild Rocket, owned by the Huntington Station based Reststar Hospitality group, opened at the 376 New York Ave. location in May. According to Berke, who eyed the property for two months before buying it, the restaurant space was advertised on Craigslist.

A representative from Reststar could not be reached for comment on the sale on Tuesday.

Berke added that the restaurant space will remain open for business throughout the transition.

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