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.
“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.”
Note: Gantry LIC is an advertiser of the LIC Post