A popular Long Island Southern-style restaurant has come to Wantagh and the South Shore.
Mara's Too has opened at 3261 Merrick Road.
It's the second Long Island location for owner Mara Levi, who also owns Mara's Homemade in Syosset.
The Dallas native has been in the restaurant business for a decade, starting out with an eatery in Manhattan's East Village, before deciding to relocate to Long Island.
"We had a lot of customers say, 'you've got to come out here, you've got to come out here,'" Levi said. She and her husband began to scout locations in the area, before deciding on the Syosset location which opened in 2011.
Her husband also introduced Levi to the cuisine she serves. "I've always loved to cook," she said. "When I met my husband who is from Arkansas, my mother in-law taught me all the family recipes."
Levi, who serves barbecue, burgers, fried chicken as well as Cajun cuisine is serious about being authentic.
"We fly in all of our Gulf Seafood and andouille sausage," she says. Fish is fried in cornmeal rather than flour. "That's how they do it in Arkansas," she said.
"We also feature Arkansas Barbecue, it's a blend of Texas and Memphis ," she said. "We also do a dry rub smoked with a blend of mesquite and hickory woods.
The sauces are served on the side except on sandwiches.
Also on the menu are traditional cajun dishes such as jambalaya etouffee, crawfish and stuffed bread.
You'll also find gator bites and a new item at the Wantagh location, a gator po' boy.
Levi says she opened her eateries to bring food that you can't find in the area and wants to present an enjoyable experience.
"I want people to have good food and enjoy it in a casual atmosphere, she said.