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Waterfront Crab House to reopen by year end, new owner confirms

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July 21, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Waterfront Crab House has been taken over by the owners of Shi and Skinny’s Cantina.

Joseph Lucil, one of the new owners along with Shih and Skinny Lee, confirmed that they have leased the 2-03 Borden Avenue space and said that they plan to reopen it by the end of the year or the beginning of 2016. LICTalk broke the news last night.

The restaurant will continue to operate as the Waterfront Crab House and will offer seafood.

Lucil said that the partners will be meeting with an architect in coming weeks and that the establishment will undergo a redesign. However, he said it was too early to say how much the existing restaurant will change.

Lucil said that all the old boxing memorabilia that was collected by the former owner—the late Tony Mazzarella—is no longer there since the family has it.

The Waterfront Crab House closed in February about a month after Mazzarella passed away. He had owned the restaurant for decades.

The Lee brothers and Lucil are partners in other business ventures. They have interests in Skinny’s Cantina, Kavala Estiatorio (a Greek restaurant opening at 10-55 50th Avenue next month) as well as the Waterfront Crab House.

The Lee brothers also own Shi as well as a stake in Pink Canary, located on Jackson Avenue.

 

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43 Comments

George Busa

The Water Front Crab house was a very friendly and fun place to eat and celebrate our family’s birthdays. We did this for 22 years and we always felt welcomed and comfortable. I am glad the restaurant will reopen and be rejuvenated under new owners and look forward to returning with our family there. Of course will will miss the Mazzarella family and hope the former employees will be hired. See you all soon!

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St. Ave. Rd. Dr.

I’ve had some great meals there and some not so great meals there. I’ve never had a bad time there, and I always enjoyed the crowd, whether I was a participant or an observer.

There are those who go to a restaurant to eat and nothing else. That’s fine. Restaurants and bars are places that, sure, I go to eat and drink. But I also go to meet my neighbors. (Hence I prefer the bar.) I’ll miss the old Crab House. The vibe in there is what a zillion “concept restaurants” have copied… but it was the real thing. I really appreciated that. I also loved that one could order a White Russian and no one would blink an eye. (While I like Dutch Kills for completely different reasons, try ordering one there and see the look you’ll get.)

IMHO, there can be much more to a restaurant than just the food on the plate. The Crab House was that. I’ll miss it. There was a sense of community there that I don’t see pretty much anywhere in the ‘hood anymore.

We’ll see what they do with it. The building itself has a vibe to it, unlike the mall-like structures that Shi and Skinny’s inhabit. At least they’ll have that going for them this time.

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Mike

I can’t wait for my favorite Gathering place to reopen. Hope they still have the ONE POUND lobster tails!

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Doreen

LMAO. Do you really think your anonymous opinions and rude remarks really matter? The only one who cares what you think is YOU.

People in business nearly 50 yrs. didn’t depend on the likes of you. They closed because the owner died and family chose to leave. So, take all your nasty opinions and vicious remarks and shove it where you sit. The Crab House family is smiling all the way to the bank.

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Just a visitor

Different strokes for different folks. What you may find delicious, others may find awful. For those of us who enjoyed the food ( the stuffed chicken was always a favorite) we will miss the original crabhouse immensely. I was just trying to convey that though it wasn’t your cup of tea, there isn’t a need to be so hateful. The comments are already negative toward the new place that hasn’t opened yet.

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Astoria Resident

I was a huge fan of this restaurant and so happy to hear that the name will remain.

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Astoria Resident

Welcome to the new form of communication “Just a visitor”. Very belligerent immature individuals running around pretending to be mature grownups.

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Just a visitor

Why all the hateful comments? The place is closed and was done with heavy hearts. The food was always good for the 20 years my family and I are there. If you didn’t enjoy it then you didn’t enjoy it. Maybe you should stay home and cook for yourself. No need for the hate.

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Jane

By all means, I am not a great good cook. But, the good served at Waterfront was not edible. Surprisingly awful. I can do a better job in the kitchen than they can and don’t do this professionally.

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Martin

Waterfront Crab House’s owners deserve to be outed as deadbeats: they ran a loyalty program that awarded points based on dollars spent and good for dollars off future tabs, and they walked out on that obligation with no notice. They owed me over $70 worth. They didn’t reply to a letter I sent about it. The program was structured to encourage hoarding: the points were each worth more as your point totals climbed to various tiers; that’s why I was caught holding the bag. Their lack of integrity shouldn’t go unnoticed.

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Anon Sorry

Don’t forget they closed the restaurant with no notice to the staff, who found out when they showed up for work and the place was closed up.

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Anonymous visitor

At least they should get credit for not serving any more of their terrible food on an unsuspecting public.

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Mike

i agree with all sentiments about shi and skinny’s
live across the street never ever go there

lifetime queens resident who is done with this hood

lic always a bridesmaid never a bride

long beach here i come

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Oh no

The owners of Shi/Skinnys/PinkCanary are masters of catering to the tasteless idiots who will pay for and eat a well-plated bowel movement. From that stand point, this is a smart move.

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Rona

I loved the Waterfront Crab House, and was devastated when it closed! The food was delicious! The staff was always cordial, you felt like you were part pf a family. The entertainment was always fun! My fiance and I were planning to have our wedding there, most of our friends celebrated special occasions there. I just hope that if the place reopens, they keep the same formula going, and don’t jack up the prices like most of the places in LIC!

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carol

And that’s why it stayed in business for as long as they did, because the food was awful. Let me guess, new to the area David?

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David

And here comes the “who’s new to the area” pissing match, like that has anything to do with knowing what good modern cuisine tastes like – a thousand apologies for daring to call crap food at a neighborhood institution crap. I tried the place a few times in the years I have lived here and always found it to be bland, under seasoned, greasy, and stuck in the culinary 1970s. Maybe that quality was good enough in the past, but the neighborhood is changing and their dated food was not cutting it anymore. I don’t get the reverence for a mediocre at best restaurant that some here have. It’s like thinking Dairy Queen ice cream is the best because you used to go there after little league.

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Just a visitor

You don’t get the reverence because you don’t respect the restaurant for the institution it was. Mr. Mazzarella opened that joint way before any “new LIC” know it all’s decided to implant. He was down there when no one else wanted to open because of the neighborhood. You may try mustering up an ounce of compassion for those who are sad to see it go. You are certainly entitled to dislike what you dislike as are those who like what they like. It’s okay to disagree without an acid tounge. Have a little respect for the history of the place.

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David

I respect restaurants based on their food, not the community work of their owner. Mazzarella deserved respect for the man he was. His restaurant did not.

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Just a visitor

Sometimes things taste better to people because of the memories it conjures up such as the Dairy Queen comment. maybe the people who enjoyed their food enjoyed their time there making it taste that much better to them. It’s a shame your experience there was dreadful. To others it will always be thought of fondly. I hope you find a place that pleases your distinguished tastes.

Anonymous visitor

There are many people who don’t have good taste when it comes to eating. That must explain why the WCH lasted as long as it did. It atrracted the same same kinds of people who liked Mama Leone’s in the old days or who go to the Olive Garden and shovel some garbage down their throats. Fortunately, tastes today are more refined and most people can tell when they are being served fresh, well-prepared food.

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Astoria resident

We’ll, people are definitely more impressed with THEMSELVES if that what you mean. Tastes today are more refined? Did you type that with a straight face?

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whocares

shi and skinny’s are awful at best- how about we get some other restaurateurs in the neighborhood to open GOOD food. It’s no wonder LIC can’t get passed it’s “beautiful views and nice buildings, but…” reputation. Queens has great food, but NOT in LIC. Thankfully Brooklyn is close by.

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George de Stefano

One already has — Rocco Sacramone’s Maiella. But I agree — anything the Shi/Skinnys people are behind is bound to be dreadful.

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mcolan

I went to Maiella’s on Saturday. The place is trying very hard. They have a nice space. The staff is exceptional. I have to be honest though, the food tries too hard. I had the organic pork shank, my wife had the tagliarini with cherry tomatoes, my son had the margherita pizza. The tagliarini was horrible. I believe that it was flavored with truffles. Whatever it was, it was strong and almost metallic tasting. Seriously, I spit it out. The pork was very tough, hard to cut and had very little good meat on the bones. The pizza was good. We agreed that the insalata mista was decent and refreshing. The best part was the desert special which was a vanilla bean creme brulee. Italian food is all about good, fresh ingredients and simple food. They are trying too hard. Too many strong flavors. They need to dumb it down a bit. Just my opinion. The staff is superb though beginning with Anthony and the view from the patio is very nice.

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Anonymous visitor

Interested to see what they do — so much potential for this place. it doesnt need to be super fancy or modern…….a nice spring and summer destination for a drink and a burger with hopefully some outdoor space? Roof top?? watch the sea planes land in the summer.
Lets do it people…

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Anonymous visitor

Even these new owners should have little trouble making better food at this place than the slop the old Crabhouse used to turn out. The biggest mystery in LIC is how that terrible place lasted as long as it did!

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carol

Ever hear the phrase, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? It lasted as long as it did because it was a great place. They treated their patrons like family.

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David

They may have treated their patrons like family, but their food – the core competency of a restaurant – was awful. Sorry if you don’t like the truth. Not that I expect the people who brought us the culinary abominations of Shi and Skinny’s to produce anything better.

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David

Too bad the food is how a restaurant attracts a more diverse crowd beyond a core of regulars who are buddies with the owners. Good riddance to some truly rank food. In a way, it is ironic that the place will be resurrected by the likes of Shi/Skinny’s.

I will refrain from a sophomoric retort to your opening line.

mcolan

David, Shi and Skinny’s are perfectly acceptable everyday food. We can’t go fancy everyday and this is a family neighborhood. The owners of these restaurants understand the neighborhood and they use good ingredients to make good food. Thank god we have them. The only low key easy restaurant on Center Blvd is Skinny’s and the ONLY decent Chinese food in the neighborhood is Shi. Not to mention the only real sidewalk seating in the hood is Skinny’s. As for Shi, they will do anything for you. They are not pretentious at all. Ask for anything, on the menu or not. Ask for substitution, no problem. Personally, I never ate at the Crab House. Looks like a tourist trap in Cancun or like a Red Lobster / TGIF style tourist trap. Probably a good place to have a drink but I like my seafood to be from a respectable restaurant. They should change the name and menu. Nobody in the new LIC will eat seafood at a place like that. That is for the old Howard Johnsons crowd from the 50’s and 60’s.

Astoria resident

A tourist trap? Lol when the WFCH opened over 30 years ago there was virtually no restaurants down on the waterfront except Prudenti’s which was across the street. Omg tourist trap! Priceless!

David

No, mcolan, Shi and Skinny’s represent a level of culinary blandness one step above Pizza Hut. Good tasty food does not need to be expensive or fancy. I would much rather grab a couple of $3 tacos from any number of hole in the wall places around the City than be subjected to the poached protein on cardboard that Skinny’s offers. These two restaurants traffic on location and people who are fine eating whatever slop gets put in front of them to go with their drinks.

Anonymous visitor

First time I’ve ever agreed with anything David has said! The food there was terrible. I went there several times, usually invited to some family event or function. The food was always predictably yucky, except for the raw bar. And this idea that they treated everyone like family? Please. We got the blank treatment every time we were there. If you weren’t chums with the owners, you were practically invisible.

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Just a visitor

You say you’ve never been but are able to deduce that the crabhouse wasn’t respectable? I think that’s a strong word to use when you have no basis for your insult. Maybe it was for the 50s/60s crowd. At least that crowd had manners and respected the man Tony Mazzarella was. You should google his name and see all the good he did. Maybe you would then understand what the word respectable and.

Just a visitor

Patricia Manning foundation -waterfront crabhouse. Google it and read the articles and then rethink your ” respectable” comment.

me

maybe it wasnt a obnoxious hipster/1%er restaurant that REAL people enjoyed – go eat your overpriced hipster minscule food portions with the other obnoxious LIC imports – the food was always good and the restaurant was like being with family – something you obnoxious NYC wannabes dont get

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