History, Ghosts and Great Food at Long Island Eateries – Part 4

aGourmet Whaler vintage

The Gourmet Whaler’s Lillian Feldman

The Gourmet Whaler, in the old seafaring town of Cold Spring Harbor, is a mixture of restaurant, coffee shop, ice cream parlor and retail store. It is known for owner/chef Sean Leonard’s famous fish tacos, but it’s just as well known for its resident ghost, Lillian Feldman, who has been haunting the place for years.

Lillian Feldman was a student at the famous Cordon Bleu culinary school in France. She opened a gourmet store in Cold Spring Harbor in 1953. A female presence has been felt and seen at the shop by previous owners and employees. Footsteps and the sound of someone running have been heard, jars and other items have mysteriously fallen off the shelves and Parisian bistro music has turned itself on in the CD player. Sean and his partner, Constance Olson, claim things have been quiet at the Gourmet Whaler as of late, although Constance can’t explain the time when someone tapped her on the back. When she turned around no one was there.

Sean prefers food over ghosts and concentrates on his breakfast and lunch specials, including his fish tacos, rated number one on Long Island by Newsday. When he first purchased the place in 2010, Sean would walk down to the harbor and catch porgies and flounder and then bring them back for his fish tacos. Talk about fresh! Today, his extra-crispy, panko-encrusted fish tacos with chipotle mayonnaise, signature slaw and peach mango salsa on warm grilled tortillas are such a hit that he no longer has time to fish for them himself. All food is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. Gourmet Whaler also features homemade soups, pies and cookies, and the lobster roll is quite popular in the summertime.

Ghosts and food. Who would have thought they would make such a perfect combination?

The Gourmet Whaler, 111 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor 631.659.2977