Peters Clam Bar, the Oceanside restaurant famed for its seafood — and its long lines to get in — reopened last week after a six-month hiatus dictated by the swirling waters of Hurricane Sandy.
“Everything in the kitchen was destroyed by more than four feet of water,” said Dominick DeSimone, who has been a co-owner of the eatery for the last 14 of its 74 years. “The deck, which was moored next to the restaurant, is gone, never to be found. The walls and the floor collapsed, all the electronics were destroyed and the dining area was a jumble.”
DeSimone pointed out that the restaurant typically opens for the summer on April 1. This year, however, it did not open until April 27. He added that he doesn’t believe this summer will be a normal one for the establishment.
“I don’t think you’re going to see long lines this summer,” he said wistfully. “People are busy fixing up their homes or have been displaced and aren’t even in the area. I feel bad that we opened late, but I feel worse for the people who live in the area — all that destruction, and all the work it will take to get it back together. It’s really sad.”
DeSimone and his partner, Angelo Remunni, hosted a grand opening at Peters on April 30, at which they credited Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and County Legislator Howard Kopel for helping to get the restaurant reopened.
“They stayed on top of everything,” Remunni said. “They made sure that we got the help we needed to reopen when we did.”
Many of the customers who dined during the reopening ceremonies seemed happy to be there. One of them was Long Beach resident Bob Smilen, who was there for lunch with his daughter, Heather, and his granddaughter, Leah, 19 months old.
“I’ve been a regular here for a long time,” Smilen said. “Of course, this is the first time I’ve been here this year, because of the storm. I’m glad to see it came back, because the food here is outstanding, and where else can you sit with your granddaughter and watch the birds?”
Magnano, Kopel and others made short speeches welcoming the restaurant back. Then they all sat down to eat.