ROCKAWAY BEACH — The summer season officially kicked off Saturday at the city's longest beach.
Joining the usual favorites this summer are new restaurants and shops, including an herbal cafe where you can relax after the beach and a wine shop selling hard-to-find bottles.
Here's a look at what's new:
► Beach Bistro 96, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach
This corner spot went from Veggie Island to Anna Bow to the new Beach Bistro 96, selling Brazilian food and snacks. Grab a pastéis, which is similar to an empanada, a picanha sandwich or a quesadilla. For something a little healthier, there's also an acai bowl.
► Ship to Shore Wine Shop, 88-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach
The owners of Sayra’s Wine Bar have expanded to open this wine shop offering a global selection of wines not offered anywhere else on the peninsula. The wood-lined store is reminiscent of a ship — and will offer low-cost bottles in the front of the store for an easy grab before barbecues and parties.
► Santa Salsa, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach
The revolving door at the former Rockaway Taco space is now occupied by Santa Salsa, who have had a hot dog cart on the boardwalk for a few summers. Their Venezuelan street food includes well-dressed hot dogs topped with potato chips, shredded cheese, onions, cabbage and more. There’s also empanadas and a variety of burgers.
► Community House, 101-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach
This restaurant opened late last summer in the former Irish Circle location, and has a popular weekend brunch, ample seating, live music and more throughout the summer.
For 2016 they've made it easier for beach visitors by adding beach chair rentals, lockers to store valuables and showers to rinse off after the beach in the back of their restaurant.
Herbs are sold by the ounce at this tea shop. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)
► Willderness Yard, 99-04A Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach
William Francis, a lifelong resident and herbalist, opened this shop selling juice, teas, herbs by the ounce and snacks just before Memorial Day weekend. The restaurant and tea shop is open 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and will serve two soups and salads every day, along with paninis. There are books and comfortable seating throughout, and Francis also sells herbs, traditional medicine and teas by the ounce.
Later in the summer Francis hopes to add a take-out window to sell beef patties and other snacks for the late-night crowd.
► Brother’s, Beach 106th St. Concession
Grab a selection of fresh-squeezed juices, smoothies and cold brew coffee at this new health food stand that shares a space with Caracas Arepas. Breakfast options include homemade granola, and for lunch there’s a kimchi grilled cheese or brown rice bowl with kimchi and a variety of vegetables.
The potato chips at Mister Sharky's, which are made fresh to order, seasoned with a special spice mix and served piled high for $5. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)
► Mister Sharky’s, Beach 97th St. Concession
The menu here is simple: grilled cheese sandwiches and ribbon chips. But the sandwiches are improved upon from the usual slices of American on white bread, with combinations like cheddar, gruyere and gouda for the “Tres Queso” and spicy pepper jack and pickled jalapeno for the “El Diablo.” And the ribbon chips are their own attraction, as the chef spirals a potato at the counter, quickly deep fries it and seasons it with a secret spicy dry blend. It’s served in a giant pile that’s great for groups (or yourself).
Fresh salads, falafel and more will be sold at this Riis Park Bazaar outpost of Cuisine by Claudette's popular Beach 116th Street shop. (Facebook)
► Cuisine by Claudette at Riis Park Bazaar
Chef Claudette Flatow cooks up delicious dinners, homemade hummus and healthy salads from her shop on Beach 116th Street. This summer she’ll expand to serve food at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar
► Whit’s End Pizza at Riis Park Bazaar
Whitney Aycock is bringing his wood-fired pizza oven to the Riis Park Beach Bazaar this summer, bringing along with him the inventive pizza recipes beloved at his Rockaway Beach restaurant - like the salciccia e vongole, topped with sausage and whole clams.