Park Slope's Grand Central Oyster Bar to Have Family-Friendly Focus

By Leslie Albrecht on August 27, 2013 9:14am 

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 The francise of the Grand Central Oyster Bar opening in Park Slope aims to introduce seafood to a new generation.
Grand Central Oyster Bar Opening in Park Slope
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PARK SLOPE — The chicken-fingers-and-pizza-bagels set will get a chance to sample briny mollusks at the new Grand Central Oyster Bar opening this fall in Park Slope.

Backers of the new restaurant at Fifth Avenue and Carroll Street told Community Board 6 Monday night that they plan to open a "classic seafood restaurant" that will welcome families with kids.

Partner Jonathan Young, who has lived in Park Slope for nearly 20 years, said he's been shocked to see new restaurants popping up that don't offer high chairs. That won't be the case at Grand Central Oyster Bar. He's hoping the eatery will introduce young palates to the delights of freshly caught seafood.

"To me, the fun thing would be to actually turn kids on to seafood that they've never had before — fried calamari, fried oysters and stuff like that, which we would price extremely well just to get a younger group to try it," Young said.

He added, "They shouldn't be having fish sticks. If there's any fish sticks around, we'll be making them homemade from the fish of the day."

But the seafood joint will also strive to retain much of what made Grand Central Oyster Bar's subterranean restaurant a destination restaurant, Young said. He worked at the Oyster Bar's Grand Central Terminal location for 10 years as both a general manager and assistant general manager.

"I've always wanted to take on this project where we would concentrate on the real core items that made [the Oyster Bar] famous in the first place — the stews, the pan roasts, the soups and oysters and shellfish," Young said.

The Oyster Bar's pan roast — oysters in creamy broth served over toast — was once named the city's best restaurant dish by a New York magazine food critic.

The Park Slope menu will emphasize shellfish, including lobster, clams and sea urchin. The restaurant will serve a limited selection of perhaps three fish each day, all fresh from the seafood market, Young said. Oysters will be sourced from the North Fork and South Fork of Long Island and from Connecticut. The restaurant will serve the cold water variety of the mollusks, which have less bacteria, Young said.

The Park Slope Grand Central Oyster Bar, a franchise of the original location, will also have counter service, a lobster tank and a small market where shoppers can pick up fresh oysters and shellfish. Tile work on the restaurant's exterior will pay homage to the decor at the Oyster Bar's Grand Central Terminal location.

There will be seating for 150 diners, and the restaurant will be open until 11 p.m. during the week and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Young and his partner, Bruce S. Fox, are hoping to open around November.

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