As the summer season kicks into full gear, backyards will soon be filled for barbecues and pool days. While hamburgers and hot dogs are a staple of warm weather gatherings, a new must-have appetizer should be on your list to try this year.
The Long Island Dip Company, lovingly started and operated by Michael and Donna Garone of Bayport, have a serious selection of delectable and decadent dips to fit any taste palate—as traditional or as experimental as a host would like to go.
“When we have our friends and family over, we always try and find something different; we’ve smoked cream cheese on the grill, pork belly tacos, that kind of thing. One weekend, we came across a queso dip, and this dip had all different cheeses, meats, tomatoes and spices cubed up and heated till melty. Donna put a spin on it and we gave it a shot. The whole thing went, not a drop left. Everyone raved and told us of all the things we’ve made, that was by far their favorite,” said Michael of the start of the dip company.
A few weeks later, the couple was discussing Sunday afternoons at their grandmothers’ houses as children, and both had similar stories of sneaking into the kitchen, ripping a piece of Italian bread, scooping up some sauce and meatballs, then trying to eat it quickly “before grandma caught us and chased us with her wooden spoon for touching her sauce,” Michael said, with beaming nostalgia.
“We thought about how delicious it was and how, rather than just making macaroni, we should try something like the queso dip but this time with sauce, meats, and cheeses and a loaf of bread to dip; it was amazing, just as we both individually remembered from our childhoods,” said Donna.
“From there we thought, This seems to work—first the queso and now the Sunday dinner? What else would be so familiar but yet so different in the same vein that we could try? From there it kind of snowballed, every other day we were trying something new. A cheesesteak, sure, why not? A reuben, okay? I love Cuban sandwiches, let’s try it. All just for fun and ourselves,” said Michael, adding “Donna is an amazing cook, restaurant-quality food, and it’s cathartic for her. She also truly enjoys it, so this kind of messing around in the kitchen was right up her alley. Additionally, I love to eat, so we’re a match made in heaven.”
The style of dip, which is a hefty weight in its aluminum container, is not readily available in supermarkets or even boutique farmers’ market, as it’s laden with meats and cheeses.
With many of the dips inspired by great sandwiches, the Garones take their time to deconstruct and find the essence of the meal and how to translate it into a dip.
Neighbors and friends serve as beta testers for their concoctions, with great commentary and feedback.
And while the dips are perfect for summer get-togethers, you can sample different dips throughout the year for your parties.
For Valentine’s Day, there is a romantic (and perhaps aphrodisiac in nature) shrimp, lobster and champagne dip special that Michael describes as “perfect for a day of decadence and spoiling your significant other.”
The baked clam dip, originally a Christmas offering (which would probably fit right in with the Feast of The Seven Fishes), was so popular it was put on the everyday menu.
Currently, there are 15 different flavor profiles, but the Garones are always looking for new meals to turn into dips.
With many of the first customers also members of the community, Donna said, “Everyone has been amazing. So many of our orders come from the BBP/Sayville/Patchogue/Holbrook area, and the reviews have been fantastic. One woman told us our dips gave her a ‘mouthgasm’ and another was very, very adamant and insistent that we needed to be booked on Rachael Ray immediately! We get tons of repeat orders (comebacks always equal happiness for any chef), and we’re getting more and more orders stating, ‘I had your dip at a friend’s and it was so good I needed to order for myself.’”
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