Bay Shore is more than just ferries. You may know this Long Island enclave best for its entrée into Fire Island, one of the Northeast’s most beloved summer destinations. But Bay Shore, home to some of the boats that transport day-trippers and summer settlers across to the barrier island, also boasts a lively food and drink scene. Whether you’re in town for the day or for longer, it’s worth eating your way through. Here are the best places to dine in Bay Shore this year.
This 15-year-old Bay Shore stalwart serves up lunch, brunch, and dinner six days a week. Menus are seasonally focused and do their best to highlight whatever is fresh and local at the Long Island farms. (On a recent menu, this meant a crispy egg, served with snap peas, mint, feta, and radishes; marinated lamb ribs with an herb and celery root slaw; and pasta, amplified by braised pork and escarole.) A smart cocktail list plays around with serious drinks while adding a bit of whimsy. For a taste of summer, try the Mango Milk Punch, made with rum, mango, vanilla, lime, orange, and clarified milk.
10 4th Avenue, Bay Shore, 631.969.9800.
Tucked into an inauspicious, casual space is Chowder Bar, one of Bay Shore’s hidden gems. The restaurant, which opened seasonally in 1946 and year-round in 1988, is owned by Lynda Nenninger and Patricia Robinson and encourages a local, Long Island-loving clientele. In addition to chowder (served Manhattan-, New England-, and Long Island-style), you can find a full roster of sea-faring dishes here, from the breaded flounder “fishburger” to the fried scallop boat served with French fries and homemade coleslaw. Oysters and clams on the half-shell round out the fish-centric menu for a true taste of Long Island.
123 Maple Avenue, Bay Shore, 631.665.9859.
This Bay Shore restaurant’s comprehensive raw bar has a full shucking station visible to guests while they eat. Salt & Barrel is owned by the Flynn family, famous for their Fire Island spot, Flynn’s (where you can find the Rocket Fuel, Fire Island’s signature cocktail). At Salt & Barrel, you can get a finely crafted cocktail that may not have the potency of a 181-topped Rocket Fuel—but you won’t need it. Plus, the restaurant’s ample selection of bicoastal oysters and other seafood favorites, like the must-order lobster roll, make this well worth the Bay Shore pit stop.
61 W. Main Street, Bay Shore, 631.647.8818
A new Italian concept from Salvatore Sorrentino, ITA Kitchen brings Italy to Long Island. Appetizers run the gamut, from the Jules’ Corozza (a fried Italian cheese sandwich served with vodka sauce) to an antipasto platter featuring pesto risotto balls and broccoli rabe-sausage egg rolls. The menu features 12 hearty pasta dishes, as well as a handful of meat and fish entrées, the star of which is quite possibly the vodka Parm, a dish that fuses the Italian-American classic, chicken Parm, and the pink-sauced wonder that is penne a la vodka.
45 W. Main Street, Bay Shore, 631.267.5916.
Small plates abound at Coastal Kitchen & Daiquiri Bar, where the name of the game is “coastal-inspired food.” This means everything from Caribbean kabobs to fish tacos to a surf and turf burger adorned with a lobster tail. Cocktails have a whiff of the islands: rum punch, mojitos, painkillers, and more. In these beachy environs, it’s not hard to envision yourself whiling away the hours on an island somewhere, cold drink in hand.
12 E. Main Street, Bay Shore, 631.665.6300.
The Bay Shore outpost of this popular Mattituck donut spot is open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily—or until the donuts sell out. There are specialty flavors available all the time, but the store maintains a constant flow of nine classics, including glaze, cinnamon-sugar, strawberry OG, vanilla OG, chocolate OG, caramel coffee cake, churro, Boston cream, and black raspberry jelly. Weekly flavor additions are posted on their website.
5 E. Main Street, Bay Shore.
This family-owned and –operated winery and taproom serves up food and drinks in style. If you’re in the mood for a quick snack, opt for the hummus, tzatziki, or tirokafteri, all of which are served with warm pita. The winery also serves pizza, sandwiches, and charcuterie plates. In addition to a roster of their own wines, Fire Island Vines offers wines, beers, ciders, and seltzers from New York State producers. Drinks are available on tap, by the can, and by the bottle.
17 E. Main Street, Bay Shore, 631.647.9010.
The cheeky, new Rock City Dogs is an ode to hot dogs, but that’s not all. In addition to their hot dog obsession, the owners are also enthused by classic 1970s rock (the name references Kiss’s Detroit Rock City, a tune from 1977) and classic cocktails. Vegans need not be wary, either. Rock City even has a vegan dog on the menu, to go with all those hardcore jams. Inside, it feels a little like a 70s concert venue, just as it should. As the slogan for Rock City Dogs goes: eat, drink, rock.
3 E. Main Street, Bay Shore.
This Bay Shore newcomer opened in late November and hasn’t stopped moving and grooving since. The concept combines yakiniku, a Japanese grilling style, with shabu shabu, a method of cooking whereby diners flash-cook raw meat and vegetables in richly flavored broth. Here, you can do either, with all-you-can-eat prices that allow for flexibility and a set time limit. It’s impossible to get bored at JBBQ, where you can choose between almost 20 grill-worthy items and almost 40 shabu shabu selections. Broths range in style, too, from curry to herb to tomato to “spicy.” For novice grillers, instructions on best-practice grilling instructions—useful for anything from the cubed rib eye to the head-on shrimp—are included.
11 E. Main Street, Bay Shore, 631.647.7777.