Sure, it’s mid-October, but it’s also pushing 80 degrees today, so we’re not completely insane to give you a heads up about a beachside restaurant. Over the weekend, Whit’s End grand-opened its new spot in Jacob Riis Park.
A month ago, we were told Whitney Aycock’s new place in the Rockaways would be “Hemingway on the beach– a sporting man’s paradise.” There were definitely some elements of that when we stopped by yesterday. The countertops of Bay 9, which had been used by the Riis Park Beach Bazaar’s concessionaires over the summer, are now graced by exotic animal skulls and overseen by a mounted marlin.
In the corner, some overstuffed couches surround a tv showing the football game.
While Whit is the only Beach Bazaar food vendor working through the fall, winter and spring, the Riis Point bar continues to dole out booze, with the seasonal addition of spiked hot cider. There’s also entertainment: During Sunday’s Oktoberfest celebrations, Sunnyside Social managed to get a conga line going. Next step, limbo?
As with Whit’s now-shuttered pizza place on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and his hidden marina hang spot, Ole Man Chill, the menu changes daily according to the chef’s whim and whatever ingredients are available from purveyors like nearby Edgemere Farm. The opening announcement promises “wood-oven pizza, handmade pastas, wild catches and local produce,” with weekend brunch launching October 22. Pizza delivery, cooking classes, a holiday market and a chef’s table are also said to be in the works.
Here’s a look at what was on offer yesterday.
Aycock describes the new oceanfront location as “epically better” than his old one adjacent Playland Motel, and you definitely couldn’t beat the view of the supermoon last night. Playland’s restaurant, meanwhile, plans to close at the end of the month. In a move that isn’t sitting well with some Rockaway residents, its landlord is now renting the motel’s rooms to homeless families. But the Hamptonizing of the Rockaways may happen yet. Nearby, another boutique hotel is on the way.
Whit’s End at Riis Park Beach Bazaar, Jacob Riis Park, 16702 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens; Thursday through Monday, 5pm to 10pm, till midnight on Friday and Saturday; brunch 11am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday.