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Waterfront Crab House reopens today–comes back from the brink

Long Island City's Waterfront Crabhouse set to reopen in February

Feb. 12, 2013 By Bill Parry

The Waterfront Crab House, the iconic seafood restaurant located at 2-03 Borden Ave., is reopening today, 107 days after it was nearly destroyed by a six foot storm surge during Hurricane Sandy.

The restaurant has been rebuilt from the floorboards to the kitchen. This is the second time the crab house has had to be rebuilt in the past four years: last time, a fire nearly destroyed it.

Owner Tony Mazzarella, a 76-year old former prizefighter, said that he never considered walking away. He restored the restaurant from top to bottom at great personal expense without any relief from his insurance company.

Everything has been replaced, from the kitchen to the seating area and the floor. There’s a new bar, but he’ll no longer have photos spread under plastic across the counter surface. “It’ll be much cleaner,” Mazzarella said.

Most of the sports and boxing memorabilia survived, though some fight posters were lost to the flood. “The whole place is better than it was before,” he said.

Mazzarella can’t wait to open the doors to see his regulars return. He also noted the efforts of nearly three dozen of his staff who helped do the work. His daughter Kris, his brother Butch and his brother-in-law Bobby (who is also his manager) deserve a lot of credit, “They are my World Series team,” he said.

Mazzarella claims local politicians used his devastated restaurant for a photo op and never returned except for Joe Conley, the Chairman of Community Board 2. “That man Conley is good,” Mazzarella said. “He constantly checked in on us since the very beginning. He’s the one guy that deserves elected office.”

Conley said he would attend the reopening and that, “Tuesday will be a very happy day in the neighborhood: the universe will be right again.” He added that Mazzarella does a great deal for the community, and he hopes the community turns out in big numbers.

The Waterfront Crab House is completely staffed and the menu is exactly the same as it was before the flood.

Mazzarella chuckled at the irony that a hurricane nearly destroyed his business of 37 years, and three months later a blizzard almost delayed the reopening.

“Yeah, I thought of that,” said the old boxer, “I guess it’s true: you can’t fight Mother Nature.”



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Loreli (Sherman) Calabria

We spend every Christmas Eve there having a big family dinner. It just wasn’t the same this past one. Now that I know you’re back, the next time I drive in to Queens to visit mom I’ll have to take her for lunch!

Sean Delevan

So glad for you and your restaraunt Tony. My son just remembered when we used to go there when he was just a baby and grabbing the bowls of peanuts.

Please tell your son that Sean says hello.

While I no longer live in the neighborhood, I wish you and yor family the best.

Sean Delevan

Sue Cizek

I always loved the Crabhouse! So many memories from dates to family celebrations to retirements . The best place forums to go!

Tony Meloni

Great Job, place looks and feels exactly the same, except the floors are newer. Just missed you Tuesday,

Good Luck and God Bless,

take care,

Tony Meloni

Dan Vera

GREAT, Been going to the Crabhouse for the past 20 years, sad to see the damage and very glad to see the reopening. All my best to Tony, Bobby and Kris, will see you guys soon.


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