It may have struck a blow to our bathing suit bodies, but NYC beach fare sure has come a long way. So forget about packing a sandwich, and squirrel away some sunscreen and singles instead, for spreading around the following sun and sand-blessed spots.
Low Tide Bar: One of the first outlets to raise the Rockaways’ food game, this cheerful, sunny dive raises the bar for itself year after year. Not only will you find local beers, sangria slushies and rotating restaurant pop-ups, fun additions to the current season include a bread share—stop by on Friday nights to pick up JBFA award winner, Sarah Owens’ naturally leavened loaves.
Super Burrito: After three season’s worth of beachside pop-ups, these Cali natives are parking their Mission-style burritos inside a dedicated stand on the boardwalk. Look for easy-to-eat, foil-wrapped rolls of steamed flour tortillas, tucked around red rice, pinto beans, sliced avocado, pico de gallo, Monterey jack, and proteins such as beer and bay leaf-marinated chicken thighs, or grilled, Pat LaFrieda-sourced steak.
Peaches: Brooklyn’s soul food mainstay is making a daily commute to Queens this summer, trading in hot chicken for morning options like tropical fruit with coconut lime yogurt, and afternoon eats such as Korean rice and veg bowls with brisket, hummus flatbreads with carrot, and ham, egg and cheese sammies paired with curry chipotle chips.
City Sticks NYC: Having an ice cream vendor on the beach is pure necessity, but don’t expect a hum drum Good Humor truck. Instead, you’ll find innovative, frozen dessert peddlers like City Sticks, selling cocktail-inspired pops such as Cucumber Berry Margarita, Mango Caipirinha, Jackfruit Orange Mimosa and Strawberry Lemonade Martini.
Fletcher’s: This BK ‘cue-stop has once again lugged a mobile pit to the beach, from which to smoke brisket, wings and rib rips over maple and red oak.
Rockaway Clam Bar: While the owners of Red Hook Lobster Pound actually live in the Rockaways, they’ve actively resisted opening an outpost close to home—until now. Taking over shellfish responsibilities from previous vendor, Wildfeast, they’re blessing the beach with whole belly clam rolls, New England clam chowder, frozen watermelon salad and peel-and-eat shrimp.
Ed & Bev’s: Also from the Sussman’s, this stand serves classic Coney dogs topped with diced onions, yellow mustard and chili, as well as Michigan diner classics like Greek salad, saganaki, and Faygo red pop.
Samesa: Brother’s Eli and Max Sussman opened a Samesa brick-and-mortar in Williamsburg this year, but that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned their appealing beach locale, offering healthy Middle Eastern options such as chicken shawarma, beet hummus and lentil pistachio spread.
Tom’s Restaurant: This boardwalk outpost of Prospect Heights’ beloved, circa-1936 diner serves throwback fare like silver dollar pancakes, Greek salads, triple deckers, egg creams and cherry lime rickeys, with an unparalleled view of the Atlantic on the side.
Feltman’s: Nathan’s may have been credited with inventing the Brooklyn hot dog, but Feltman’s (which actually predated the Coney Island icon by 40 years) is back to set the record straight. And not only are they undercutting their longtime rivals franks by 10 cents, they far surpass them in quality by forgoing nitrates and preservatives, and using lean cuts of 100% beef.
Coney Island Brewing Co.: You can’t get more local than this Surf Avenue-situated brewery, which offers growlers to go and on-tap tastes of homegrown suds like Mermaid Pilsner, Kettle Corn Cream Ale and Cotton Candy Kolsch.
Kitchen 21: Occupying the former landmarked Childs space, this multi-concept venue hearkens back to Coney Island’s heyday, providing a one-stop complex for local beers (the Parachute Bar), raw oysters (the Community Clam Bar), lobster-topped burgers (the Test Kitchen), beach-ready wraps (Coney Island Café), and wine and cheese on the roof (Boardwalk & Vine).