by Joseph Orovic, Queens Tribune
Long Island City’s historic Waterfront Crabhouse suffered a debilitating fire at about midnight on Tuesday. While none of its signature memorabilia was damaged, the eatery’s kitchen was left completely burnt out and the owner believes it will be a few months before the establishment’s doors reopen.
“We’re very downbeat but trying to stay positive after this,” Kris Mazzarella, daughter of owner Anthony Mazzarella, said.
According to an FDNY spokesman, the fire was called in at 11:44pm, and was a relatively quick job with no injuries.
Now the crabhouse is in the process of recuperating, trudging through the usual formalities with insurance companies while rushing to reopen.
“We can get it fixed in a month, but with the insurance companies doing a back and forth, we’re thinking more like two or three months,” Mazzarella said. “But we will reopen. There’s all these rumors around the neighborhood that the place burned to the ground; that’s not true.”
The Mazzarellas have been known as stalwarts within the community, when owner Anthony toyed with a State Senate run over a decade ago.
Originally constructed in 1881, the then-named “Tony Miller’s Hotel” was the most happening joint in the neighborhood for nearly three decades, attracting Broadway’s finest, famous athletes and political playmakers such as Teddy Roosevelt.
Mazzarella purchased the building in 1978 and it has since grown into a staple of the revitalized Long Island City scene.
In the spirit of giving back, the Mazzarellas donated all of the fresh food that will go uncooked to a litany of local churches, the Borden Avenue Salvation Army and the FDNY as well.
With the hopes of reopening soon, Mazzarella has big plans.
“We’re going to have a fire sale,” she joked. “Everything will be 50 percent off.”