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Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

1904 Surf Avenue

Coney Island Brewing Co has applied for a brewer’s license at the 1904 Surf Ave store formerly occupied by Danny Boy’s Pizza. November 16, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

The Coney Island Brewing Company, which relaunched a year ago after being sold to Alchemy & Science, a division of Samuel Adams, has applied for a license to open a brewery at 1904 Surf Avenue in Coney Island, sources tell ATZ. The new brewery will mark a return to Coney for the namesake brand, which under Shmaltz Brewing ownership operated the “World’s Smallest Brewery” in a tiny storefront next to the freak show. That brewery was part of Coney Island USA’s small business incubator program from 2011 until it got washed away by Sandy. The new retail space at 1904 Surf on the outside of MCU Park was formerly occupied by Danny Boy’s Pizza and is adjacent to Peggy O’Neill’s and the MCU Credit Union.

“We’re not ready to make an official announcement, there is paperwork still being processed,” Kathleen Barnes of the Coney Island Brewing Company told ATZ. According to the New York State Liquor Authority, the application was filed on September 26 and is pending. The NYSLA has no set timetable for approval, but after a brewer’s license is granted, the permittee has the option of (more…)

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Ruby's Bar & Grill

Chairs for Sale. Inquire Inside. Ruby’s Bar & Grill, Coney Island Boardwalk. October 18, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Whether you’re a regular at Ruby’s Bar & Grill or a fan who drops by on Mermaid Day, here’s your chance to own an original chair from the legendary watering hole on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Ruby’s co-owner Michael Sarrel told ATZ the chairs are up for sale because they are getting new seating. The price is right — only ten bucks–marked down from $18. On a snowy day at home, you can tip back on your souvenir chair and imagine you’re back at Ruby’s in Coney Island and it’s summer.

Last week, Ruby’s November and December schedule was posted on the bar’s website: “From now until Jan. 1, we will be closed, BUT our bar will be open on weekends (weather permitting). For updates, please check our Facebook page. As is our tradition, we WILL be open for the Polar Bear Club’s annual plunge on New Year’s Day. Ruby’s is looking forward to seeing you again in 2015!”

Related posts on ATZ...

April 5, 2014: Photo Album: A Solitary Evening Stroll in Coney Island

October 3, 2012: Photo of the Day: The Weekday View from Ruby’s Bar

May 22, 2012: Photo Album: Welcome Back, Paul’s Daughter & Ruby’s Bar!

January 7, 2011: Photo of the Day: Greetings from Ruby’s Snow Mountain Resort!

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Lobster roll Paul's Daughter

Lobster rolls are new on the menu at Paul’s Daughter. June 7, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Lobster roll aficionados are advised to run right over to Paul’s Daughter in Coney Island to try the newest addition to their menu — and currently available weekends only– delectable chunks of Maine lobster packed into a toasted bun. ATZ tasted one of the Boardwalk eatery’s much-anticipated lobster rolls on Saturday, having been given a heads up by store owner Tina Georgoulakos. Tina and her family have been working on the recipe for months. The delicate sauce has a secret ingredient that enhances the naturally sweet and succulent taste of the lobster. If the store’s beloved Mama Burger figure doesn’t get her lost burger back, maybe she could hold a lobster roll instead?

Paul's Daughter

Bartender and counterman at the lobster bar at Paul’s Daughter on the Coney Island Boardwalk. June 7, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Tina’s father Paul Georgoulakos aka “The Chief” co-founded the restaurant formerly known as Gregory & Paul’s in 1962 and still supervises its clam bar. The renovated building, which was originally one of hot dog inventor Charles Feltman‘s restaurants, remains a masterpiece of vernacular signage. Among our favorites signs are the counterman’s cry “Hey! Get It Get It!” and the dapper Mr. Shrimp. (more…)

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White Castle
White Castle, the legendary burger chain founded in 1921 in Kansas, will soon be serving their sliders in Coney Island’s Luna Park. On Thursday, samples of the little burgers were being given away in anticipation of the opening of what’s called White Castle Express. The food demonstration rep said the burgers would soon be available at locations in Luna Park including the BBQ trailer on Wonder Wheel Way. (Update: White Castle burgers were available this afternoon at Luna Park’s Cyclone Cafe for 95 cents including tax.)

Earlier this year, the White Castle slider was named Time magazine’s most influential burger of all time in a poll of hamburger historians and experts. How will it fare in Coney, where Boardwalk mainstays Nathan’s, Tom’s, Ruby’s, and Paul’s Daughter have burgers on their menus, and Burger-Fi and Johnny Rockets are said to be on the way? Can a hamburger eating contest be far behind?

White Castle is a family-owned business based in Ohio that owns and operates more than 400 restaurants in 12 states including more than a dozen in New York City.

UPDATE May 24, 2014

White Castle Express was open in Luna Park on Saturday at both the Cyclone Cafe and in the former Luna BBQ trailer on Wonder Wheel Way near Stillwell, one of five new businesses and exhibits opening over the weekend. Please note that these are seasonal stands which are open when Luna Park is open for business and not year-round restaurants.

Luna Park's White Castle Trailer

Luna Park’s White Castle Trailer on Wonder Wheel Way at Stillwell Avenue, May 24, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr


Related posts on ATZ…

April 25, 2014: Under Construction: New Mom & Pops Coming to Coney Island’s Surf Ave

September 23, 2013: Happy First Anniversary to Tom’s Coney Island!

September 7, 2013: Photo of the Day: Sweet Potato Fries at Ruby’s Bar & Grill

July 17, 2012: 50 Years on Coney Island Boardwalk for Paul & His Daughter

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Margarita Island

Site of Margarita Island, set to open on Coney Island’s Bowery at West 12th Street, on Memorial Day Weekend. May 10, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

Remember Coney Island’s Beer Island, the popular outdoor bar where you could get sand in your shoes? The bar was one of the Boardwalk businesses evicted from City-owned property and closed down in 2011. On Memorial Day weekend, co-owner Carl Muraco is getting set to open its successor, Margarita Island, on the Bowery at West 12th Street. (Update: The ‘soft opening’ will be on Saturday, May 17th.)

The outdoor bar’s liquor license was issued a few days ago and a food truck specializing in Japanese teriyaki is already parked on site. New picnic tables are set up on the corner lot, which had been vacant since Coney Island Arcade burned down four years ago. The property is owned by Jeff Persily, who is also leasing the space next-door to Muraco for an arcade, formerly located in one of Thor’s buildings, and a bar.

The food truck Yume Teriyaki Grill offers a reasonably priced menu of teriyaki chicken, steak or fish served over white or brown rice, salads, and appetizers like gyoza and edamame. It’s one of the few food trucks in Coney Island since mobile food vending is restricted on the streets in and around the amusement area.

Yume Teriyaki Grill

Yume Teriyaki Grill Food Truck at site of Margarita Island Outdoor Bar, Coney Island. May 10, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

The key to Beer Island’s success was serving a wide variety of beer in bottles and on tap–all for $5—on a sandy beach just a few steps from Coney’s shore. Blaring music, bikini-clad waitresses, and the fact that you could bring in food from any of the Boardwalk restaurants added to the party ambiance. Plus as one Yelper wrote: “I have seen some strange shit at Beer Island. One time some guy rolled up with a bunch of exotic animals: iguanas, parrots, pythons–all at the same time. He sat down at a table, scattered his animal kingdom cohorts about, ordered a beer and proceeded to let old ladies feed his massive iguana (what looked like) strawberries.”

This corner is already pretty strange. The freak show is across the street and so is the Saturn 6 ride. And the mysterious, homegrown 5D Cinema, which opened last summer, is back.

5D Cinema

5D Cinema, Coney Island. May 10, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita


Related posts on ATZ…

April 25, 2014: Under Construction: New Mom & Pops Coming to Coney Island’s Surf Ave

January 3, 2014: New Year, New Franchise: Rita’s Italian Ice Coming to Coney Island

December 31, 2013: Amusing the Zillion’s Coney Island 2013 Year in Review

September 11, 2013: Subway Cafe to Replace Furniture Store on Coney Island’s Surf Ave

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Vintage Sign inside Denny’s Ice Cream, Coney Island. February 28, 2011. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

In 2012 ATZ asked “Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?” (December 19, 2012). With a slew of chains and franchisees coming to the new, year-round Coney Island, the answer is yes, but two new Mom & Pops — Lunatics Ice Cream and Luna Park Cafe– are under construction and racing to open for business in May.

On the south side of Surf Avenue next to Popeye’s, the former Island Grocery is being transformed into a new walk-in shop called Lunatics Ice Cream. Dennis Corines, whose Denny’s Ice Cream operated on Surf from 1968 until he sold it to Coney Island USA and it was destroyed by Sandy, is a consultant to the owners. They’ll be bringing back his vanilla, chocolate and banana pistachio soft serve as well as cotton candy, popcorn, jelly apples and funnel cake. The projected opening date is May 15.

Coney Island Post-Sandy

Coney Island Post-Sandy: Interior Demolition of Storm-Ravaged Denny’s Ice Cream, Surf Avenue. November 17, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita via flickr

On the north side of Surf Avenue across from the Cyclone roller coaster, a new Mom & Pop eatery is under construction in one of the former furniture stores. Set to open as early as May 1st, the 2,400 square foot space is divided into three sections: pizzeria, frozen yogurt counter, and a cafe serving burgers and sandwiches. Co-owner Mike Kukaj tells ATZ that the name of the restaurant will be Luna Park Cafe.

Luna Park Cafe

Luna Park Cafe: New Cafe Under Construction on North Side of Surf Avenue. April 23, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

The original Luna Park (1903-1944) was on the north side of Surf Avenue, where Luna Park Houses and Luna Park Furniture are now. Until the early 1980′s the north side was home to individually-owned penny arcades and a variety of rides including bumper cars, carousels and even a Jumbo Jet-style coaster. Philips Candy Store, now located in Staten Island, was the anchor of Stillwell Terminal from 1930 until 2000 when the terminal was rebuilt and they had to move out.

By the time the last ride– Coney Island’s B & B Carousell —closed in 2005, the north side was known as the wrong side of Surf Avenue to locate a business because of the lack of foot traffic. Now it is home to Coney Island Bar & Grill, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Applebee’s, which has plans to open a sidewalk cafe.

Under Construction Surf Avenue

New Mom & Pop Business Under Construction on North Side of Surf Avenue, Its name will be “Luna Park Cafe.” April 23, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita

Among the new chains and franchisees expected to open this year in Coney Island are Johnny Rockets, currently under construction on the north side of Surf, as well as Burger-Fi, Subway Cafe and Red Mango. Along with Applebee’s, It’Sugar and Rita’s Italian Ice are already open on Surf Avenue, and there are a 24-hour Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins and Subway in Stillwell Terminal.

Johnny Rockets

Building for Johnny Rockets Under Construction on Surf Avenue, Coney Island. April 21, 2014. Photo © Tricia Vita


Related posts on ATZ…

January 3, 2014: New Year, New Franchise: Rita’s Italian Ice Coming to Coney Island

December 31, 2013: Amusing the Zillion’s Coney Island 2013 Year in Review

September 11, 2013: Subway Cafe to Replace Furniture Store on Coney Island’s Surf Ave

February 13, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Candy Retailer It’Sugar to Open Surf Ave Store

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Freak Bar

Coney Island Lager- Old and New Labels– and Coney Island Albino Python at Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar. November 10, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

When Shmaltz’s line of award-winning Coney Island Craft Lagers were launched in 2008, a trio of Coney Island USA sideshow performers were immortalized on the labels and played a part in the marketing campaign. “It just made perfect sense to include the performers,” said the brewery’s owner Jeremy Cowan in an interview with the Daily News at the time. “A portion of every bottle and every pint will go toward updating their building and keeping the spirits of Coney Island alive.”

Last week, at a bar in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the re-branded line was launched with new graphics and a new slogan: “Take the next ride with the Coney Island Brewing Company.” Cowan sold Shmaltz’s Coney Island beers in August to Alchemy and Science, a subsidiary of Boston Beer Co., which produces Samuel Adams, in a deal said in the press to be worth $2.9 million.

A new brewery and tasting room is planned at a yet-to-be decided location in Brooklyn, to replace their “World’s Smallest Brewery,” which had free space in Coney Island USA’s building until it got washed away by Sandy. But the non-profit arts organization that produces the Mermaid Parade, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow and other popular events is not a partner on the next ride.

Coney Island Brewery

Coney Island Brewing Co Launch Party at the Brass Monkey, November 18, 2013. Photo via Coney Island Brewing Facebook

“That agreement expired 19 months ago,” said Cowan, when ATZ asked him what the brand’s involvement with Coney Island has been since it was sold and their plans for the future. According to the terms of the sale, Cowan is still brewing some of the beers at Shmaltz’s brewery in upstate New York and advising A&S on Coney Island matters for at least five years. “I’ll be the liaison with the Alliance for Coney Island and the neighborhood and I’m still president of the NYC Brewers Guild.”

Last year after Sandy, Cowan organized a fundraiser by the nonprofit Guild at Brooklyn Brewery in which several breweries participated, raising $10,000 divided equally among three organizations –Rockaway Surf Club, Red Hook Initiative, and Coney Recovers. The Coney Island Brewing Company is a member of the one-year-old Alliance for Coney Island, which functions as a sort of Chamber of Commerce for businesses in the neighborhood and launched Coney Recovers to raise funds for the community after Sandy.

Coney Island Beer Taps

New Coney Island Brewing Co. Taps Mimic the Parachute Jump. Launch Party at the Brass Monkey in the Meatpacking District. November 18, 2013. Photo via Coney Island Brewing Facebook

Asked how much the new Coney Island Brewing Company plans to contribute to Coney Island and with whom it will forge partnerships, Cowan said, “Well, I don’t think they even know that right now and it’s probably something they can’t give a dollar amount to.”

The new owners also haven’t decided yet what to do with all of the brands. “Nothing is absolutely final but it’s kind of a mad dash to make the transition so they have a new logo for the brewing company,” says Cowan. “Mermaid Pilsner is the flagship. We’re still making Coney Island lager with our proprietary Funny Face that Dave Wallin did for me, changing some of the graphics around it, but that will still be available for sale on draft in the city.”

The new graphics feature Coney’s landmark Wonder Wheel, Cyclone and Parachute Jump amid a towering glass of Coney Island beer. There’s also a gorgeous new mermaid in the surf and the beer’s trademark Funny Face looks a bit less freaky without his facial tattoos. And the newly designed taps for draft beer mimic Coney Island’s Parachute Jump.

New graphics on display

New graphics on display at Brass Monkey Launch Party, November 18, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

At the time of the sale, new owner Alan Newman of A & S told Brewhound, “The goal is to broaden out the brand so it represents more than just the freak show and isn’t so scary,” he said. “We want to celebrate the amusement park, the beach, the boardwalk, the hot dogs and all of the things that make Coney Island interesting.”

Newman grew up in Long Island, and as a kid came to Coney Island when he was a teenager. “They want to make it wonderful and exciting and continue on with the project that we started,” Cowan tells ATZ. Alan Newman is also the author of “High on Business: The Life, Times, and Lessons of a Serial Entrepreneur” and the grand wizard of a brewery-sponsored annual Mardi Gras parade in Burlington, Vermont, where he lives.

Among the new beers that will be introduced are “Seas the Day,” an Indian pale lager with a Zoltar-like fortuneteller gracing the label and “Tunnel of Love,” described as “Watermelon Wheat” and featuring a couple seated in a romantic swan carriage on its label.

Coney Island Brewing Co

Posters for Coney Island Beer on display at Brass Monkey Launch Party, November 18, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

According to the Boston Business Journal, Boston Beer projected that it spent $3-$5 million on Alchemy & Science in 2012, the division’s first year, and expects to spend another $2-$4 million this year. A&S has also acquired L.A.’s Angel City Brewery, launched the Traveler Beer Co., and is developing the Just Beer brand after buying that name from another brewery. Boston Beer executives warned investors that the Alchemy & Science budget could increase again, and it’s not clear when A&S’s revenue will surpass its expenses, the story noted.

Meanwhile, the Coney beers are still sold at Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar, as Dick Zigun recently noted on twitter, when a follower called for a boycott after realizing Coney Island Brewing is no longer donating money from sales. “Such discussion is premature,” replied the Coney Island USA founder and Unofficial Mayor of Coney Island. Dick Zigun tweeted: “I’ve suggested no such thing-still serving it!” In response to a request for a quote for this story about Coney Island USA’s relationship with Coney Island Lager, Zigun sent an email: “I am restricted from commenting at this time.” (Update: On April 11th, the eve of Coney Island’s Opening Weekend, Zigun posted in reply to a question about the on the Coney Island Message Board: “The Freak Bar is open and serving…we are not (currently) serving the ‘specialty brands’ while we quietly try and resolve a legal dispute.”)

Coney Island Beer Posters

Posters at Coney Island USA’s Freak Bar. November 10, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita

The beer is also sold in Coney Island at Ruby’s Bar, Paul’s Daughter, Applebee’s, Nathan’s, Tom’s, Peggy O’Neills, and Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, says Cowan. “You can buy it in most places but we’re still a little company trying to compete with Coors Light and Budweiser. Six of every ten beers is a Budweiser product and in Coney Island Corona and Coors Light are monster brands, so trying to compete in some of those accounts to drink our beer instead is a real challenge.”

To that end, Cowan has done tastings and co-marketing with some of the Coney Island establishments. Next fall, during the shoulder season, he hopes to kick off an Oktoberfest-type of event in conjunction with the Alliance.

As for the new brick-and-mortar Coney Island Brewing Company, where small batches would be brewed, it may not even be in Coney Island. Cowan says they haven’t finalized where it’s going to be. “We’re looking in all of Brooklyn. We’d love to locate it in Coney Island if possible, but as you know it’s a very tricky place to find real estate. There are about four or five people who own the real estate in Coney Island, so they set the rents. If we find a way to work with them that’s fantastic. And there’s issues for us. Specifically, the infrastructure in Coney Island still needs to continue to be upgraded for utilities and sewer and water, basic needs of a small business and certainly a small manufacturing business.”

Mermaid Pilsner

Mermaid Pilsner – the New and the Old. Coney Island Brewing Company. Photo via Coney Island Brewery Facebook


Related posts on ATZ…

October 20, 2013: Photo Album: Four Transformations, One Year After Sandy

January 31, 2012: Remnant of Under Boardwalk Bar Found in Coney Island

October 11, 2011: Photo of the Day: Butterflies & Beer Island by Bruce Handy

May 11, 2010: 21st Century Bars: Coney Island’s Freak Bar Featured in New Book

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