A dash of Delta charm

Copyright Long Island Pulse Magazine Louisiana native Bobby Bouyer runs the kitchens at Biscuits and Barbeque, bringing Southern flavor — and hospitality — to Mineola.

Copyright Long Island Pulse Magazine
Louisiana native Bobby Bouyer runs the kitchens at Biscuits and Barbeque, bringing Southern flavor — and hospitality — to Mineola.

By Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos originally appeared in the May 2014 of Long Island Pulse Magazine. This content is the rightful property of Long Island Pulse Magazine.]

A chat with chef Bobby Bouyer is like a stroll down Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. In his faded Cajun accent and with warmth in his voice, he described the simple joys of cooking tangy molasses-smoked barbeque and tender slow-roasted brisket. Louisiana-style cooking is rustic and focuses on seasoning in layers and understanding the nuances of the ingredients. Then again a lot of other cuisines are like that too. But in the South it’s the hospitality that forms the foundation of any authentic dining experience.

The half Creole and half Cajun Louisiana native brought his zesty roots to Mineola, where cookie-cutter chain restaurants abound. He developed the menu at Biscuits & Barbeque, a converted 1947 railcar restaurant with only 6 booths and 15 counter stools. “It’s an intimate environment,” Bouyer said, “which makes it easy from the kitchen standpoint to really focus on each plate and get things right.”

In the two years since it opened, the tiny restaurant, which sits on a quiet street in an industrial part of town, has drummed up considerable attention. “I think we carved ourselves a little niche,” Bouyer said. “We’re staying true to Creole-Cajun seasoning. Low and slow cooking technique is what it’s really all about.” Grasping the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine involves a thorough history lesson, which Bouyer is happy to provide, but he summed up the distinction simply: Creole food is rooted in refined aristocracy, Cajun food descends from rural and rustic origins. While the restaurant offers traditional Southern fare like fried chicken, Bouyer has also introduced staples of his childhood: Muffuletta and po’ boy sandwiches, shrimp gumbo, jambalaya and alligator ribs.

Alligator is not a typical menu item, nor is it one that most restaurants could easily serve up. Bouyer, who gets his ’gator products from Florida, said the cooking process is a challenge. Tough and extremely lean, alligator meat requires very low heat and extra long cooking periods—a true case of “low and slow.”

Bouyer has worked tirelessly to train Biscuits’ kitchen staff in the ways of the South, even sending a chef to New Orleans for a firsthand experience. “They’ve learned a little bit about Southern hospitality,” he said, “and Southern gentility, which is that love; that person-to-person relationship where you take a little extra moment to smile or share a quick story.”

“Hell,” Bouyer added, “I’ve even got some of them saying y’all.”

Before moving to West Hempstead with his family, Bouyer pursued a new world of food while finishing a degree in culinary arts at Kendall College in Chicago. After a stint cooking on a cruise liner he returned to Chicago to open an ice cream shop specializing in unconventional flavors like avocado, beer and sausage. Considering his history making a dessert that tastes like beer, an alligator entrée isn’t far-fetched.

But always a Louisiana boy at heart, Bouyer returned to the French Quarter to work as a chef at the popular Palace Café. Despite witnessing the reemergence of the Southern spirit following Katrina, Bouyer decided it was time for a fresh start and moved again—this time to Long Island. It didn’t take long for him to pick up on a local trademark.

“There’s a little bit of curtness that is kind of status quo in New York,” Bouyer said. “What we preach is good service for our guests. It’s all about Southern hospitality and how we go far and beyond to make sure…you’re gonna have someone who really cares and gives you that extra attention.”

Web analytics: McGraw-Hill Education

Devising original content strategy and applying comprehensive project management is key to growth and improved reception. Every month I gather performance and web traffic data for the Digital Success Academy (DSA) — McGraw-Hill Education’s Connect platform support site, the content for which I also develop — using Google Analytics. I then analyze the data and use it to make and recommend changes to the site design and content.

Below is a year-to-date DSA analytics report from the month of September. Click to enlarge.






Oh-so-sweet frozen treats on Malverne street

Family opens new ice cream shop with a taste of nostalgia

Copyright LIHerald.com Diane Angelis and her husband, John (not pictured), opened an ice cream shop named Scooop in Malverne. Their three sons, from left, Nicholas, Alexander and Evan, take turns working shifts.

Copyright LIHerald.com
Diane Angelis and her husband, John (not pictured), opened an ice cream shop named Scooop in Malverne. Their three sons, from left, Nicholas, Alexander and Evan, take turns working shifts.

By Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos and videos originally appeared on LIHerald.com on August 11, 2010. This content is the rightful property of Richner Communications, Inc.]

When you walk into Scooop, Malverne’s new ice cream shop, it feels like you’ve walked into a scene from Now and Then, the 1995 movie that made many a little girl wish for a time machine to travel back to the early 1970s.

The family-owned Scooop, which Malverne residents Diane and John Angelis opened in place of Crystal Ice on Aug. 1, is a throwback to that era, depicted so well in the film as a time when ice cream sodas were the rage and kids could ride bikes all over town, swinging AM radios from their handlebars.

There’s no question that summery, care-free, youthful vibe will go a long way toward achieving Diane’s goal of making the shop Malverne’s favorite hangout. And it doesn’t hurt that the place, which is decorated with old family toys, stays open until 10 p.m. every day until Labor Day.

Copyright LIHerald.com Scooop offers a wide selection of toppings for its ice cream flavors, sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes.

Copyright LIHerald.com
Scooop offers a wide selection of toppings for its ice cream flavors, sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes.

But if the inviting signs and colorful decor aren’t enough to draw in customers, the selection certainly is. Patrons can choose cones, cups, sundaes, banana splits, ices, shaved ice, soft-serve, floats, milkshakes and fat-free yogurt. While children need little convincing to go to an ice cream shop, they get a bonus for coming into Scooop: chalk-board tables where they can doodle and scribble their heart’s delight.

For adolescent girls, there’s always the other incentive: the Angelis’ three teenaged sons who take turns working shifts. Until school starts, Evan, 21, Nicholas, 18, and 14-year-old Alexander are serving up scoops with their mom, who is loving every minute of owning the shop.

“What’s not to love?” Diane asked on a recent hot August day. “I love Malverne, I love the people, the community. It’s so tight-knit.” That’s what brought the Angelis family, who owns a number of restaurants throughout New York City and parts of Long Island, including Nick’s Pizza in Rockville Centre, to Malverne from Queens 13 years ago.

And Diane’s not the only one who loves Scooop. Her children love it, neighbors and friends love it and even Malverne Village Mayor Patricia McDonald loves it, according to Diane, who said people have been coming in regularly since the store’s opening. And everyone’s got suggestions: stay open year-round, serve soup in the winter, offer frappes and dessert, sell candy and so on. The shop already offers coffee and sells cakes, and Diane has already ordered two benches and a new awning to make the place more inviting, but she welcomes all suggestions, as she’s still unsure of what her next steps are.

Thinking ahead, Diane is planning to add frozen yogurt to the menu and stay open at least through holiday lighting. She’s also working to put together contests for kids to make ice cream even more fun. But there are still many details to figure out. Buying the store in mid-July and having it open and running barely two weeks later, the Angelis family had to move quickly. Although they’re still in the very early stages of running this business, they’ve managed to create an atmosphere of familiarity that makes patrons feel as though the shop has been around for decades.

“It was very sudden,” Diane said of the decision to buy the store. “At first I said to my husband, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this’ — I was scared. But what made me decide was the thought that a stranger could come in and buy this place.” By opening the place herself, Diane felt she would be contributing to that sense of community that defines Malverne. She would also be helping to recreate for her children and those of the neighborhood what she had as a child: growing up, Diane would frequent Jahn’s Restaurant and Eddie’s Sweet Shop, where ice cream cost mere pennies and hours were passed laughing with friends. The bottomline, Diane said, “I just want it to be a happy place.”

Scooop is open from noon to 10 p.m. seven days a week, although hours will change once school starts. Although the shop does not have a website yet, patrons should keep an eye out for a Scooop Facebook page. Until then, Diane welcomes everyone to drop in and check it out.

Gennaro celebrates victory for Queens’ endangered wetlands


I wrote this press release in November 2007 to distribute to the media following a press conference I coordinated, in which Councilman James Gennaro announced his successful mission to protect New York City’s endangered wetlands.

In order to research and write the release, and plan Gennaro’s announcement, I reached out to other organizations and advocates involved in the cause, and coordinated their input and appearances.

The press conference was a success and garnered significant media attention. The release secured placement in a number of publications, including the New York Daily News, the Queens Chronicle, and the Times Newsweekly.

Click the image below to view the two-page press release in its entirety.


Teens use aerosol can to start school fire


Copyright LIHerald.com
Flames engulfed the portable classrooms connected to the George Washington Elementary School in West Hempstead Monday night. Damage to the building was extensive. More than 100 firefighters responded to blaze.

Lee Landor

[Note: This article and its accompanying photos originally appeared on LIHerald.com on Aug. 10, 2010. This content is the rightful property of Richner Communications, Inc.]

They were really playing with fire.

Two 14-year-old teens who were charged with starting a fire on Monday that damaged a West Hempstead elementary school set papers on fire and then threw an aerosol can into the blaze to see what would happen, police said.

They saw what happened shortly thereafter — and it was a sight that is likely burned into their memories: The can ruptured, causing flames to engulf a temporary building attached to the George Washington Elementary School.

Police charged the pair with fourth-degree arson, a felony, but would not identify them because of their age. They were charged as juveniles, according to Det. Lt. Kevin Power, commanding officer of the arson and bomb investigation squad.

While at the scene of the 8:35 p.m. blaze, West Hempstead school district Superintendent John Hogan suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized, according to reports. He was still in the hospital on Thursday.

According to Power, the boys were playing with a cigarette lighter and setting fire to pieces of paper on a concrete patio near the annex, which housed three first-grade classrooms. Then they threw the aerosol can into the fire and it blew up, alerting neighbors who reported hearing an explosion and seeing people running from the school.

With the help of residents and witnesses, arson investigators identified the boys as local kids, and arrested and charged them Tuesday night.
When asked whether this was the result of ignorance about fire safety, Power said it appeared to be a case of curiosity. “It was ‘Let’s see what happens when we place [the aerosol can] in fire,'” he said.

“Education is always good,” Power continued. “And the fire service, the Nassau County Fire Marshal, does do school education programs throughout the school year, so people do hear about the dangers of fire and what can happen. So those programs are out there, but it’s still not going to take an interest away from a child or person if their mindset is to do it.”

The teens were released on Family Court appearance tickets and are scheduled to face juvenile delinquency charges later this month, Power said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, school officials reported that fire remediation specialists monitored by an independent environmental engineering firm began a “complete top-to-bottom cleaning” of the school building. Deputy Superintendent Richard Cunningham, who has taken over all the superintendent’s responsibilities, said he expects the work to be complete in a week’s time.

“While there is extensive damage to the schools ‘portable’ classrooms, the rest of the building was not affected and will be ready for the start of the school year,” Cunningham said. “We are confident that we can accommodate all students scheduled to attend the school without affecting class size.”

Classes at the William Street school will begin as scheduled on Sept. 7.