Last week we reported that Rockaway Beach’s food vendors are returning, albeit only for takeout service. This week, some vendors on the other side of the peninsula, at Jacob Riis Park, have also returned, and the city’s beleaguered beachgoers will be glad to hear they can now sit down with a beer.
The Riis Park Beach Bazaar’s off-season restaurant, The Dropout, had been offering burgers, dogs, and other comfort food for takeout only, and without booze. Meaning your best bet for getting a buzz on was catching the elusive nutcracker vendor on the beach. But over the weekend the operators of the Riis Park Beach Bazaar put out some picnic tables at Bay 9 and you can now order beers, hard seltzers, draft wine, and a variety of frozens, including the place’s potent gin and grapefruit mix, the Gini Hendricks. There’s even a special summer lager by Sixpoint, dubbed Riis Beach Cruiser. In addition, there’s food from Rockaway Clam Bar, including lobster or shrimp rolls and a fried clam basket.
Unlike years past, where you ordered at the concession stands and seating was first-come, first-serve, diners now check in with a host and order from a server. There is no booze to-go.
In addition to the 19 or so picnic tables that will be at Bay 9 daily, there will also be a beer garden at Riis’s iconic bathhouse. Due to Covid-related guidelines from the National Park Service, which operates Riis Park, vendors like Oaxaca Taqueria, Pelanque, and 2 Dudes won’t be back for now. But a local favorite from years past, Cuisine By Claudette, will be returning to Bay 9, and food trucks such as Nathan’s and Ben & Jerry’s are also on site.
The reopening occurs as lifeguards are set to return to Riis Park– and to the city beaches– this week, July 1. Seems like a good time to remind everyone: That whole thing about waiting thirty minutes before you swim after eating? It’s just a myth. You might want to watch out for sharks, though.