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Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill in Island Park

A newcomer to Island Park has been creating quite a bit of buzz in the short week or so that it has been open, so we thought that we’d shoot on over to Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill to see what it was all about. In the process, we endured a bit of a wait, got soaked by an out-of-nowhere rain storm and spotted a rainbow; but also may have found a new south shore favorite in the process.

View from Pop’s Dock
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

Pop’s is actually George Voutsinas, Sr.; the man for who this restaurant is named after (the original owner of East Bay Diner in Merrick). It’s his son, George Jr., who is leading the charge at this new seafood spot located directly on the water. A beach area with colorful beach chairs and palm trees everywhere is the perfect spot for you to wait with a drink in hand while your table becomes available. You actually feel like you’ve been transported to Florida for the night and we had recollections of many nights out in the Hollywood area of Florida on the water that were similar to this experience. The wait time was about 40 minutes for our table of five, and this was mid-week, so you’ll have a good idea of how the weekends are going to shape up at Pop’s.

Beachside Lounging
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

The restaurant and bar is only planning to be a seasonal restaurant; open from May to late October and then only for special events after that. Its outdoor seating area is soon to get a dome covering it, which will help when the rain hits and sends everyone scurrying for cover as it did for us on our visit. The tables, chairs and food had to be wiped down or replaced for most of the customers and what could’ve been a chaotic situation was actually taken in stride by the staff.

Mussels Oregonata – 2.5 lbs.
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

The menu is heavily populated with seafood selections. We were a table of five who love dining on all things seafood, so we were happy to see mussels with about 10 different choices of preparation. The selection included chipotle bbq, fra diavolo, teriyaki & pineapple and oregonata. We opted for the classic oregonata; prepared in a lemon butter and garlic broth. The massive, steaming pot contained 2.5 lbs. of mussels and was a great way to start off the meal. As an additional appetizer, the seared tuna lollipops were great as well. Served on a skewer with a mustard sauce, it was a nice complement to our mussels.

Tuna Pops
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

For land lovers, there are a bunch of options for you as well. Filet Mignon, BBQ Ribs and burgers are all on the menu. The Pop’s Stuffed Burger, stuffed with jalapeno, apple smoked bacon, bleu cheese, tempura fried tomato and chipotle bbq sauce arrived at our table as well; and wasn’t too spicy. The flavors melded together to create a sweet and slightly spicy burger.

West Coast Lobster Roll
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

What’s a seafood spot to do without a proper lobster roll? Pop’s has this covered as well with two different lobster rolls to choose from. You can go with the classic lobster roll or the west coast lobster roll. The difference between the two is that the west coast lobster roll incorporates avocado into the mixture (which happily was not over-mayo’d) and then tops it off with bacon. They’re both served on a buttered hero. The avocado in the mixture was a great change to the plain lobster rolls. The lobster meat wasn’t chopped too fine and there were huge pieces preserved throughout our sandwich.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

We can envision Pop’s as our new go-to weekend destination with friends and family when we want to be waterside with great drinks and the sand between our toes. It’s a casual atmosphere that feels like a mini-vacation while you’re there. It’s really hopping along in this short time that it has been open. Word of mouth has taken over and we’re hearing from everyone that they’ve already heard of Pop’s or have visited themselves. We expect that this will stay for a long time to come and may even lead to more restaurants like this in the area in the near future.

Lounge Chairs with Fire Pit
Photo Courtesy of Mark Brandon Photography

Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill
15 Railroad Place
Island Park, NY 11558
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