New York’s Best End-of-Summer Beach Eats
With summer slipping away at an alarming pace, you’re going to want to spend as much of it as possible at the beach. And thankfully, there’s no real reason to step away from the sand and surf even for a minute, because the city’s shorelines are packed with amazing eats — from the Smorgasburg vendors in Coney Island to a revolving stable of Latin American restaurants in the Rockaways!
The Rockaways: The once under-the-radar Rockaways became the poster child for elevated beach fare a few years back, attracting the hippest and hungriest from all over New York to its previously sleepy shores. And this year, it’s even more exciting than ever, with new additions like Tacoway Beach and The Summer Shift — a rotating pop-up of Latin American chefs, including El Rey‘s Gerardo Gonzalez, Navy‘s Camille Becerra, Cómodo‘s Felipe Donnelly and La Newyorkina’s Fany Gerson.
Riis Beach: It was only a matter of time before spacious Riis Beach (right next to the Rockaways) became a destination dining spot in its own right. Serviced only by a sad burger and chicken fingers stand in years past, this summer, they’ve erected the exciting Riis Park Beach Bazaar, with outposts of Fletcher’s Brooklyn BBQ, sandwiches from Court Street Grocers, tacos from Coney Shack, shellfish from Wild Feast Food, ice cream from Ample Hills, cotton candy from Brooklyn Floss and more.
Coney Island: Coney Island used to be synonymous with hot dogs at Nathan’s and funnel cake at Astroland Amusement Park. Both of which are still great choices, mind you, but now that a group of Smorgasburg vendors have set up shop along the boardwalk, there’s a whole lot more besides. Make that a dozen different options, including lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound, fried anchovies from Bon Chovie, and Jamaican jerk chicken from Excell Kingston Eatery, along with beer and cocktails from two adjacent bars.
Orchard Beach: This Bronx beach couldn’t be closer to the seafood fantasia that is City Island. So after you’re done romping in the waves, head over to the quaint fishing community astride the Long Island Sound, for full lobster dinners at City Island Lobster House, tasty pub grub at The Black Whale, fried clams and raw oysters at Johnny’s Reef, and ice cream sundaes at Lickety Split.
Jones Beach: Since Smorgasburg declined to renew its contract this year, concessions are currently being overseen by J&B Restaurant Partners; which notably operates the Friendly’s franchise. The result is a catchall menu of hot dogs, burritos, gyros and lobster rolls, so best to pack up your beach gear and opt for one of the seafood-focused, waterfront eateries lining Point Lookout’s Bayside Drive instead. The casual Point Lookout Clam Bar is the place to go for cold beer, fish and chips, and buckets of steamers enjoyed at picnic tables overlooking the bay, and raw bar selections don’t get any fresher than at the Fisherman’s Catch, which employs its own fleet of fishing boats.