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Longtime Chef Brings Farm-Fresh Food, Art Space to Dutch Kills

 Brothers Shaun and Daniel Dougherty opened Crescent Grill at 38-40 Crescent St. in Long Island City.
Crescent Grill Opens in Long Island City
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DUTCH KILLS — A new eatery in Long Island City is looking to fill a dining void in the rapidly developing Dutch Kills neighborhood.

Crescent Grill, which opened last week at 38-40 Crescent St., is a hybrid bar and lounge, fine dining restaurant and art gallery in an area that has yet to see the same commercial development as the nearby Long Island City waterfront.

"There’s not a lot in the area, so we’re trying to be as many things to people as we can," said co-owner and head chef Shaun Dougherty, who opened the eatery with his older brother, Daniel Dougherty.

The pair were drawn to Dutch Kills for it's mix of potential clientele — a growing residential population, tourists from the many nearby hotels, and corporate customers from the office buildings around Queensboro Plaza.

"There's not a lot of restaurants right now," Shaun Dougherty said. "Since we put up a sign with our e-mail address we've been getting e-mails nonstop — 'When are you opening?' 'What are you going to serve?'"

A longtime chef whose career has taken him from Northern California to St. Croix to western Pennsylvania farm country, Dougherty says his menu will offer a bit of everything.

"My background is classically French-trained, but I’m very eclectic. I love food," he said. "It's more about the ingredients, how are they grown, how are they cared for," he said.

Those ingredients include meats sourced from a butcher based in his hometown of Johnston, PA, plus meat and fresh produce from a collective of farms in upstate New York.

The current menu boasts a brined whole-roasted chicken for two, hailing from Cascun Farm in Greene, NY, or blackened Berkshire pork cheeks in a black bean sauce, served with jalapeno grits and a red onion confit.

Poised to get their liquor license soon, the brothers plan to offer a weekday happy hour featuring pass-around “tapas style” hors d'oeuvre.

The space — a former beauty supply warehouse — is set up with a bar and lounge in the front, a more formal dining room in the back, and a dedicated gallery space off to one side. Here, the brothers plan to rotate the works of local artists for both display and purchase.

Older brother Daniel Dougherty, who has lived in Long Island City for decades, is a "a big avid collector of local art," Shaun says.

The family has deep roots in Long Island City. Daniel, who works for a law firm in Manhattan, has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years, while Shaun lived there in the early 90s.

"We've always loved Long Island City. Since I was a small child, my memories of New York were always Long Island City. Long Island City has always been a part of my family’s lives," Shaun Dougherty said. 

"We're really hoping to be here for a long time."