Holiday Shopping Destination: Sayville’s small-town vibe beckons

By Arlene Gross

If you’re looking for a genuine, old-fashioned, small-town type place to spend the day shopping, you can’t go wrong with Sayville.

“What makes our town really extra special is it’s very community- and family-based, because it’s so tightknit, small,” said Eileen Tyznar, president of the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s nostalgic. It has like, an old-time feel. It feels like a Norman Rockwell sort of town. Everybody knows each other by name,” Tyznar said. “We watch over each other. We support each other.”

On “Shop Small Saturday,” Sayville’s take on Small Business Saturday, there’ll be a North Pole trolley running along Main Street and Railroad Avenue, stopping at designated shops offering specials. The day’s festivities will include interactive ice sculptures along Main Street and a gingerbread competition.

Title photo: The glass balls and orbs sold at Sayville General Store are handblown in North America. The store, which its owner calls “not your grandma’s general store, also sells assorted plush animals like those made by JellyCat, above. Credit: Randee Daddona

While the village may be old fashioned, Sayville General Store (44 Main St., 631-563-7104, is anything but a store from a bygone era.

“It’s a high-end general store,” said owner Jacquee Gustafson. “It’s not your grandma’s general store.”

“This is one of my favorite stores,” said shopper Donna Arlotta of West Sayville. “I like her selection of items. I just bought a beautiful hat and an angel: They’re from Nepal, so a lot of the proceeds go to the women that make them.”

There is all manner of home accessories, from colorful glass balls and orbs to silk flowers, cashmere throws and blankets, picture frames and Murano glass sconces. There are fingerless gloves and purses handcrafted in Nepal; Provencal soaps, lotions and perfumes; Frasier fir diffusers, candles and hand soap; cooking tools, cookbooks and plenty of food (from oils to sauces, mustards and teas); vintage linens; hand-thrown American pottery and handmade greeting cards; Jellycat stuffed animals; GurglePot fish-shaped pitchers.

“It makes a glug, glug sound when you pour,” Gustafson said of the GurglePot pitcher.

Sayville General Store offers online shopping and curbside pickup.

Irish Crossroads sells a variety of Irish imports, including hand-painted Nicholas Mosse pottery. Credit: Randee Daddona

The spirit of the Emerald Isle is everywhere at Irish Crossroads (58 Main St., 631-569-5464,, from the Irish music that plays steadily — except when preempted by Christmas music — to the makings of an Irish breakfast (everything from black pudding to meat pies).

“There are very few Irish stores left actually,” said Kierstin Quinn, daughter of owner Kathleen Quinn.

The store specializes in Irish imports, including hand-painted Nicholas Mosse pottery and Belleek basket-weave china with its signature green shamrock designs. There are Irish cookbooks (“Favorite Flavors of Ireland” and “Christmas Flavors of Ireland,” for instance), Flahavan’s Oatlets and other Irish specialty groceries, Celtic weave mugs, Irish-made jewelry, “Guinness” pullovers, John Branigan wool ponchos and scarves, and West End Knitwear sweaters.

“I like to shop in Sayville,” said Tara Passarello, of East Quogue, as she browsed the shop. “It’s a cute hometown feel.”

A love for all things Irish might best be summed up by one of the store’s many novelty signs: “No one is perfect, but being Irish is the next best thing.”

Irish Crossroads offers online shopping and curbside pickup.

Hector Almonte, who leads classes in such healing arts as Reiki and meditations, show shoppers singing bowl at Guru’s in Sayville shows. Credit: Randee Daddona

Healing and spirituality are in the air at Guru’s (78 Main St., 631-750-5203, You’ll find crystals, singing bowls that are said to affect the body’s chakras (in Hinduism, the centers of spiritual power), gongs, statues of gods and angels, incense and candles.

The singing bowls and gongs are “healing tools to upgrade our lives through sounds,” explained owner Hema Sonkiya. “Sound is healing. When somebody talks to you with love, you feel good.”

Guru’s also offers metaphysical classes (following pandemic safety protocols) in Reiki, meditation and breath work, all taught by Hector Almonte, who studied healing for 15 years.

In addition to attending to patrons’ spiritual and physical health, Guru’s offers a cornucopia of aesthetic delights, from jewelry to pocketbooks, throw pillows, tapestries and clothing from around the world.

“Whatever is good in the world, we bring it. We want to bring beauty here,” said Sonkiya, who offers curbside pickup.

Spend $100 on Small Business Saturday and get 15% off.

While you’re in town, stop by a few more stores:

Paper Doll Vintage (23 Main St., 631-319-1919, A shop featuring hard-to-find vintage clothing and accessories, local art, home décor items and gag gifts.

The Catbird Seat (18 Main St., 631-987-4213, An art gallery/vintage shop with artwork, Maileg stuffed animals, Dixie Belle chalk paint, footstools, greeting cards, Dune Jewelry and more.

Out of the Blue (89 Main St., 631-786-7895). A store for accessories: necklaces, leather handbags, scarves, hats, ponchos, Moonglow jewelry, novelty signs, lip balm and more.

Purity Barn (66 Main St., 631-319-6889, Offering healthy options for the canine crowd, from organic dog treats and food to sanitizer for pets, as well as dog clothing, beds, leashes, toys and training books.

Debra Canavan Classics (53 Main St., 631-563-9385, In addition to artisan jewelry, this shop offers clothes by Z Supply, Patrons of Peace, Lush and Michael Stars, infinity scarves, hats, belts, shoes and unique reading glasses.

Beef negimaki is offered on the menu at Koi, a sushi restaurant in Sayville. Credit: Doug Young



Off the Block (501 Montauk Hwy., 631-573-6655, The butcher-market has a dining annex that offers, naturally, meat-centric fare — hearty sandwiches piled with, say, house-smoked brisket or Porchetta, plus burgers and the like. Main Street Diner (229 W. Main St., 631-567-5376, The newly revamped eatery has a 50-foot mural that’s fast become a photo op. On the menu, you’ll find streamlined diner classics plus a few surprises, like poke bowls. Kid-friendly, too. Koi Sushi Lounge (136 Main St., 631-563-0777, Pan-Asian appetizers like rock shrimp, tempura dishes and lettuce wraps hold court with sushi staples at this eatery housed within the shell of a 1930s diner.

— Quick Bites are compiled by Newsday food writers Corin Hirsch, Erica Marcus and Scott Vogel