After a bit of a delay, Rockaway Beach BBQ (RBQ) is finally up and running in the site of the former Playland Motel, which was sold to investors in 2017. Officially opened earlier this week in time for the 4th of July, this offshoot brought to you by the team behind Swingbellys in Long Island is sure to whet any famished beach-goer’s appetite.
Two of RBQ’s business partners, Ryan Moroney and Jacob Marlin, are from the area. Marlin, who’s also the head chef of RBQ, spoke fondly about returning to his native roots. “Oh, it’s a great feeling. Between friends and family and the community board, everyone knows us.”
Marlin isn’t quite sure what happened to the Playland Motel, but he’s sure the community will receive their new restaurant warmly. “We’re glad to be here, and that’s all I can say about that. We redid the whole building inside and out, and it’s no longer an eyesore. Because it sat here for a year—empty. Which is why it took us a little while to get it going.”
They’ve been patiently renovating since March, but now that it’s complete, RBQ features two different indoor storefronts with a communal market for customers to sit down and eat, a large to-go window, along with a formal restaurant and bar. Customers can also order food to eat on the beach or purchase a whole brisket and take it home.
The menu isn’t too different from Swingbellys, but it features your standard smoked meats like mouthwatering 12-hour brisket, pulled pork, and hickory hocks. They’re tentatively planning to launch a few weekend specials and have changed up their sandwich options—I’ve got my eye on the banh mi sandwich with cucumber slaw, personally—so it’ll have enough local flavor to cater to Rockaway residents and DFDs (Down for the Dayers) alike. They also serve a wide variety of craft beers and drinks on tap. Bottoms up.
RBQ is located at 97-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, and they can be reached at 1-718-318-RIBS (7427).