Saturday, February 7, 2009

Historic Crabhouse closes after fire

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.”


Anonymous said...

I am sadden - I have been going here to celebrate our families birthdays for 20 years - these folks are always welcoming and have good seafood and caring service. I am glad no one was injured and will look to their re-opening - Mother's Day- ?

Mike Tirelli said...

What a nice thought. Even though they had just experienced a fire they gave their fresh food to the less fortunate. I, for one will be visiting their establishment as a customer when they reopen. Good luck to the owners!

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the Crab House survives - not like Prudenti's across the street.

(Does ANYONE remember Prudenti's?)

Luxury condos anyone?

Bryan said...

"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."

Nice to see someone think outside of themselves even after facing something terrible like that. I'll be heading there too when they reopen.

Queens Crapper said...

Saw this on LIQShitty and since people are more concerned about the drunks at Water Taxi Beach than responding to this startling revelation, I thought I would post it here:

"Residents of LIC: Fire could’ve been worse. NYC is planning to close Engine Co. 258 which is quartered out of the 47th Avenue firehouse near Vernon Blvd. It’s not “official” yet because they dont have to give the community more than 30 days notice and they don’t plan to. The Ladder Co. will stay open but a Ladder Co. forces entry, vents, and searches, it does not operate hoselines or respond to EMS calls prior to an ambulance arriving. When it is official, the firehouse will be reaching out to the community, just be prepared.

If this company is closed, residents of Hunters Point will be waiting for an engine company from Greenpoint & McGuinness in B’klyn, or 37th Av& 12th St up past queensbridge to respond to their emergency."

Anonymous said...

What a shame. My family has been going there for decades. Initially i was worried that the new LIC residents wouldn't find it fabulous enough and would prefer a Starbucks there...never thought about a fire taking it out of commission. I hope they'll reopen - it's a real LIC institution.

Anonymous said...

Remember the firehouse closed in upzone! upzone! upzone! Dutch Kills.

Anonymous said...

I have gone to the Crabhouse many times. So much history. I wish the family well. Thank you for giving back to the community!

Anonymous said...

Those of you who watch the Simpsons may remember an episode where Moe takes a woman on a date and tells her he picked the restaurant because they have "steaks as big as toilet seats". I think of the Crabhouse every time I hear that line. You can cut theirs with a butter knife.

Anonymous said...

I am so unhappy, I love this restaurant. I love going to dinner
the food is so fresh and I love being able to talk to the Hostesses and also the waitstaff.
A fun place to eat and to talk.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in LIC my whole life, and there food has gone downhill considerably-was there this past Christmas-terrible.

I'm sorry about the fire, but it sounds pretty fishy to me.

I'm even sorrier to hear about 258. I grew up on that block right across from the firehouse. :(