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A Local Restaurant Inspired By Love: Leilu

Leilu

The Story Behind Leilu

Owners of Leilu, James and Meghan LaCourte, both lifelong residents of Huntington, Long Island, first crossed paths in 2004 while working at Restaurant Joanina, a beloved family-owned establishment in town. Despite graduating from Huntington High School a year apart, their connection deepened as they discovered their shared passion for the restaurant industry. The idea of opening their own restaurant emerged early in their relationship.

Rather than immediately diving into ownership, James and Meghan opted to enhance their skills and knowledge. James continued to evolve with Restaurant Joanina through its changes, including the transition from Renaissance Gourmet, the addition of a bar, and the restaurant’s expansion. Meanwhile, Meghan pursued a journalism career that eventually led her to become a producer and editor at Fox News Digital, specializing in food and wine. Following her time at Fox, Meghan ventured into restaurant marketing, aiding independent establishments in establishing an online presence.

Their diverse experiences laid the groundwork for their future venture. In addition to advancing their respective careers, the couple dedicated time to weekly wine education at the American Sommelier Association in Manhattan. Together, they launched Grape Gatherings, their first joint business, focusing on making wine education engaging and enjoyable. Little did they anticipate that these years of varied experiences would play a crucial role in their upcoming entrepreneurial journey.

Fast forward 15 years from their initial meeting, James and Meghan LaCourte are now happily married and still residing in Huntington. Their deep love for their hometown is matched only by their enthusiasm for exceptional hospitality and exploring new and delightful cuisines and wines. This shared passion motivated them to launch Leilu in the summer of 2019. Through this venture, they aspire to not only share the wealth of knowledge gained in their 25+ years in the restaurant industry but also to deliver a level of service and food quality that brings joy to people.

The design and ambiance of Leilu mirror the philosophy behind their menu—an amalgamation of comfort and modernity. While retaining some beloved dishes, the menu regularly incorporates seasonal ingredients, emphasizing a commitment to sourcing locally and supporting Long Island and New York businesses.

How Leilu Got Its Name

Named after their two lovely daughters, Leila and Lucie, the restaurant is a testament to family inspiration. It’s the girls who serve as a driving force, motivating James and Meghan to put in their best effort every single day.

Visitors to Leilu can expect to find either or both of the owners present every night, working alongside a team they proudly consider part of the Leilu family. They eagerly anticipate crafting a memorable experience for their guests, contributing, even if in a small way, to a special atmosphere at Leilu—their cherished home away from home.

Make sure to give Leilu a visit located at 10 New Street in Huntington Village! For more information, check out their website here.

For more articles about Eats on Long Island, click here.

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