Lundy’s: Triumph and Tragedy

September 17th, 2020 § 0 comments

Lundy’s, located on Emmons Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, had a long run: 1935-1977 (the effort to revive it in the 90’s failed). It seated almost 2,000 diners. Despite the vast size, it served consistently perfect food with efficient, swift service (by long tenured African-American waiters similar to those at Gage & Tollner, another Brooklyn landmark). In HG’s opinion, this was the best seafood restaurant in the world. It was affordable. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, a glass of beer was 15 cents and a dry Martini was 45 cents. The “Shore Dinner” was vast: raw clams (or shrimp); oysters on the half shell; steamers; half a broiled lobster and half a roast chicken; French fries; cole slaw; lots of hot, buttered biscuits; pie (huckleberry was the best); coffee. HG would share one shore dinner with HG’s Brooklyn girlfriend. In the immediate post-World War Two years, the shore dinner cost $5.00. HG usually ate more modestly at Lundy’s. Five bucks was a splurge, so economic-minded HG often patronized the restaurant’s raw clam bar. One dozen little necks and one dozen cherry stones accompanied by warm, light-as-a-feather biscuits, dripping with melted butter. Icy Ballantine’s Ale. Nice snack and it cost in the neighborhood of two dollars. Lundy’s was founded by Irving Lundy and despite the financial success of the restaurant, the family was marked by tragedy. Early deaths from accidents, disease, and robbery-related murders.

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