UPDATED REVIEW HERE.
Friday night I went to a new place called Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill (15 Railroad Place, Island Park). The only reason why I knew this place existed was because of a Newsday article regardng outdoor eating. As it turns out, Pop’s grand opening was just the night before!
Situated just over the Michael Valente / Long Beach Bridge, Pop’s appears to be the first sign of a waterfront redevelopment. Other lots nearby look prime for similar use, but I was there to eat and had no time to explore real estate, so on to the restaurant.
We get to Pop’s a little after 6pm thinking it would be early enough to beat the crowd. Boy, were we wrong. This place was packed! They don’t take reservations, and we were told the wait would be around 25 minutes. No Problem. We’ll use that time exploring the restaurant. Believe me, there is a lot to check out.
First of all, I want to say the decor was sort of amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing a new building in Island Park that didn’t have a fucco (fake stucco) facade! The material was mostly wood and had a very natural, organic feel to it. As far as the place itself, the dining seems to be all outside. The porch (in the photo) is the main eating area. There were a few other potential dining areas near the water where other patrons were just lounging around. There was also a bandstand, a pier and boat slips for boat access. I thought it was odd how the porch was jam packed, but these other areas weren’t so much. I also noticed that this restaurant wasn’t finished. There were construction workers still working on some structures, including the docks. This was at 6pm on a friday night!
Walking around was really nice. My wife and I went out on the pier and saw a family of swans with their giant nest. You also get a nice view of the LIRR crossing the bridge. I looked across the channel at Long Beach at our bay front disaster area and wondered if we will ever get something similar over there….
Twenty-five minutes passed, so we figured we’d ask how much longer it would be until we’d be seated. They told us about another hour. We were both starving and didn’t feel like waiting, so we told them we were going to leave. They apologized and blah blah blah. I get it. The place just opened, there is a buzz and they are overwhelmed. I’m not going to complain that the wait went from 25 minutes to an hour and 25 minutes. It was so crowded right when we got there; I had a feeling the evening was going to turn out this way. The manager told me that they only have one dining area opened, but they plan on having three more soon. So that will help.
On our way out, while unlocking our bikes, this lady told us how she’d been waiting for over an hour. She then said how the restaurant workers were giving all the tables to their friends and families- that’s why the wait was getting longer and longer. Now, I’m not sure if that’s true, but if it is then that’s a bad way to start a business.
Of course I’ll be back. I need to try this place out. The atmosphere & decor was pretty cool and somewhat unique. The food looked pretty good and people looked happy eating it. I do think this place will go down one of two paths. 1) a bar scene or 2) a restaurant for everybody. I hope it goes with the latter… I did have a hard time figuring out what kind of place it will be because there were families with kids at tables, but then a lot of younger guys walking around drinking beers and acting kinda drunk. I guess it all depends on how good the food is. If the food is mediocre, then they will rely on drinks to pay the bills. I’ll eventually get to eat there and give you a review. In the meantime, check it out yourself and let me know what you think.Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill 15 Railroad Place Island Park, NY 11558 www.popsseafoodshack.com