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Gantry LIC Hones Its Concept For Local Tastes

Iain Toth ianatoth.com

Iain Toft www.iaintoft.com

May 10, 2016 By Christian Murray

The team behind the popular watering hole LIC Bar opened their second Vernon Boulevard venture in February with Gantry LIC.

Four months in and the gastropub has been a hit, with its timber and metal interior and old pictures of the gantries on the walls, creating a 1920s ambiance. The bar’s 18 beers on tap—including several craft beers—more than meet the needs of the neighborhood. Crowds also come in for the black and white movies that Gantry LIC plays on weeknights.

But the gastropub is still gauging residents’ tastes and is currently experimenting with its menu.

“When we opened, we offered some of the fancier entrees,” said Brian Porter, a co-owner of the bar along with Phil Carroll and Paula Griffin.

“People, however, have gone for small plate items and have ordered fried pickles, wings and burgers,” he said. “Therefore we are going in that direction.”

The higher-end entrees such as the fisherman’s stew, the catch of the day, brazed short ribs and Airline chicken breast are being phased out. Fish and chips have been added to the menu, as well as a pasta item and steak frites.

New concepts were also added to the menu at the beginning of the month, including bacon wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese and almonds; salmon tartare with crisp wontons; deviled eggs with bacon and chives and truffle mixed in; smoked salmon flat bread; and carnitas flat bread with pulled pork, Monterey Jack cheese, tomato and capers.

Porter is a chef by trade and has opened several restaurants, and has also co-owned Parnell’s Pub and Restaurant in Manhattan for the past 14 years. He said that it often takes time before a menu is a “winner.”

“Most restaurant owners tweak their menu as they go along until they find a perfect fit,” Porter said.

Gantry LIC has four TVs as well as a large projector screen. While they currently use them for movies, Porter expects that when the NFL season begins the establishment will attract some sports fans.

“It won’t become a burgers and wings joint, but many people will enjoy watching games here,” he said.

Porter said that he decided to open a restaurant in Long Island City because he believes in the neighborhood and his other Vernon Blvd establishment, LIC Bar, does not serve food. Porter has owned LIC Bar with Carroll for the past 12 years.

Toth

Iain Toft–www.iaintoft.com

“This neighborhood has been growing non-stop. Just as you think it is peaking, it continues to peak again,” he said.

“I noticed that there were a number of great restaurants but we decided we wanted a different look and interior design than other places,” Porter added. “We are a bar but we put a lot of emphasis on food.”

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Note: Gantry LIC is an advertiser of the LIC Post

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13 Comments

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Here we go.

It’s not the TVs, it’s the sports. When they first opened they were playing silent movies, I was digging that.

Reply
Balance

Ahh I loved the crab house. Kitsch and all. Kinda bummed that when it reopens it will be a steak house instead.

Unfortunatlry gantry pubs wings also don’t fit the bill. So I’ll have to keep leaving the hood for my wing fix, for now.

I also do like a good kale salad. I can’t decide what your issue is now though. Is it on the quality of the food being served or the fancier options? There are some very good spots in this area, jora is great, kavala, tournasol, Enrique, Creek and cave, IL Falco, and I could actually go on! I just really like to eat well prepared food, and I like variety in my cuisine choices, and I especially like having it all in walking distance.

Reply
Paul

Balance, your last sentence is the ESSENCE of my entire issue with the LIC food scene. You say your “dying for a solid place for wings”….LIC has bars popping up like starbucks, YET you still dont find no good place for wings. What does that tell you? .Residents here may claim they are into the whole “farmhouse experience”, but end of the day, its the food. It sucks in LIC….Give me a good steakhouse over something like a kale themed soiree with a restaurant made entirely of recycled newspapers.

FYi, I was talking about the Waterhouse, which was in lIC for 40 years before the owner passed away.

Reply
Frank

The Crabhouse? Yuck – some of the most vile food I ever had. They could reopen it as an open sewer and it would be an improvement.

Reply
Paul

Balance, I hear what your saying. But you have to understand that its no coincidence that one of LIC’s oldest and most successful restaurants is a sea food joint thats been around long before the developments. LIC restaurant owners seems to blame everything about their low sales predicament–“we cant use backyard space, LIC flea takes our customers” “theres no parking” “LIC residents dont eat in Queens” “rents too high”…Give me a break, their’s an entire borough with the same problems as LIC, its called Manhattan…bottomline, IF THE FOODS GOOD, people will come.

Reply
Balance

Tell me more about this seafood joint? Which restaurant are you referring to? (all seriousness I can’t figure out which one you are talking about and I want to go!)

Hear you on the excuses and some of them are definitely bunk. (eg parking, people not eating here, etc) but I can understand the arguments around when the 7 train is down and even some of the outdoor seating arguments… When it is nice out, I would much prefer to enjoy the sun with my meal, at the flea (if I feel like spending 20$ and coming out hungry) or at one of the spots over the Pulaski (bonus I get to take a nice stroll over the bridge!)

Either way, I wish the gantry guys the best of luck and hope their menu is varied (and yummy) enough to not have all the folks on this blog switch from complaining about too much Italian to too much lowbrow bar fare. I’ve been dying for a solid place for wings.

Reply
Balance

Variety is the spice of life. And variety is one of NYCs best traits, especially in cuisines. Having a balance of pricy and affordable, fancy and down home, and all the cuisines across the spectrum are what make a neighborhood’s dining options a destination. (and what keep locals coming back for more) We are certainly stacked on Italian spots and tbh we have enough burger/bar food type places at this point. Would be great to see more options reflective of the many ethnicities this city houses, a decent Chinese restaurant wouldn’t hurt either.

Some people don’t want to eat the same thing (or at the same place) every time they get to go out to eat.

And “weird brunch” as you call it or “pig snot” ( man I hope that was a typo for snout) can be fun once in a while! Branch out and try something new, avocado sandwiches are delicious!

Reply
Paul

“People have gone for small plate items like hot wings, pickle, and burger” while the higher end items are completely phased…people may not like what I have to say, but this is EXACTLY my point….LIC doesn’t need those weird experimental menus like pig snot with toe nails served with locally raised grits and a 25 bucks avocado sandwich…..people just want normal food…not those weird brunches, the 300th opening of an Italian restaurant…..but simple steak and potatoes

Reply
brooklynmc

Well done. A good local business owner listens to customers and tweaks menu. We don’t need anymore expensive restaurants. Even the LIC flea and food is an insult. You can spend $50 on little bites. Most of the people living in these “luxury” towers are stretching themselves. Parents sleep in living rooms with kids in the bedroom. People think we are rich. Not the case. We need a place where we can get good, reasonably priced food. LIC Bar is in my opinion the most relaxing local spot. Down to earth. We need more. Thank you for being a good neighbor.

Reply
Initially not impressed.

I will have to go again. I went about a month ago and the food was so so. The wings were actually not so great but some of the other stuff was. Super hit or miss. Will try the new menu out!

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