By Ernest Barteldes
When I moved to St. George in the early 2000s, there were few dining options worth writing home about. There was the Polish Place on Corson Avenue, a so-so Mexican restaurant, a dreary Irish pub, Cargo Café and Ruddy & Dean, a steakhouse on Richmond Terrace and little else – though it is one of the most diverse neighborhoods on Staten Island, that did not reflect its eateries at the time – although there have always been plenty of shops that cater to the different ethnicities that live in the area.
That has changed quite a bit over the years. Though some closed – The Polish Place went out of business in 2012 and Cargo Café changed ownership (but not much of its menu), being renamed 120 Bay Café around that time. However, many other places have popped up over the years offering many different options not only for locals but for visitors who happen to wonder off the Staten Island Ferry from time to time.
Here is a partial sampling:
The St. George Ferry Terminal itself has now many options – ranging from a simple pizza place to New York City’s only Dairy Queen, but for a better meal check out River Dock Café, a full service restaurant with a varied American-style menu. They also have a nice full bar and a range of appetizers, my personal favorite being the fried Calamari rings, which are served with a crispy breading. During the warm months they have outside seating with a view of the harbor.
Walk up Hyatt Street towards The St. George Theater, where Jimmy Steiny’s pub offers a limited menu and a nice atmosphere for drinks. Years ago the space housed a horrible dive bar, but the regulars include lawyers and civil servants from the nearby courthouses. Further up the street is Enoteca Maria, a well-regarded Italan restaurant with a daily menu that changes depending on who the chef for the evening is – so depending on when you go the flavors can vary dramatically.
Also nearby on Stuyvesant Place is Chang Noi Thai, a newer restaurant already discussed on this blog, and across the street is our go-to pizzeria, A&S Pizzeria. Although I can easily order from them using the Slice App (more on that someday), I actually enjoy walking over, ordering a pie and waiting while enjoying a bottle of Polish beer – which they keep in stock since many Polish immigrants stop there for a drink on a regular basis. Also notable is Beso, located between Stuyvesant and Richmond Terrace, where they serve impressive Spanish meals – it’s the kind of place you can go on a very good date or to impress your mom when she visits.
A recent addition is Sabor de La Isla, a Puerto Rican restaurant located where our favorite now-defunct Mexican restaurant used to be. We haven’t checked it out yet (we plan to do so very soon) but from what I hear they are doing quite well, and the reviews have been quite positive. And I cannot end this post without mentioning Flagship Brewery, Staten Island’s own microbrew – which is walking distance from any of the eateries mentioned here.
In conclusion, St. George is slowly becoming a foodie-friendly area. Sure, it has not come to the level of other areas of the island, where you can find some of the best European-themed places in town – but we are definitely getting there.