A line item on my summer bucket list was to visit Rockaway Beach, sun myself in the sand, and sample some of the new culinary stands that have set up shop on the Rockaway Boardwalk. Between 86th Street and 108th Street on the very wide and very sunny Boardwalk, there are three new concessions hubs. As it turns out, wandering up and down the Boardwalk and stopping to sip on cool juices and to snack on Thai-inspired burgers, Venezuelan goodies, tacos, and frozen treats is really not such a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Here are some of my favorites:
1. Ode to the Elephant
Thai cuisine isn’t necessarily associated with beach-ready food, but Ode to the Elephant takes concession stand classics like burgers and familiar Thai dishes like summer rolls, satay skewers, and curries and transforms them into easy-to-eat and heat-friendly options. The Bangkok Burger is particularly delicious with bright yellow shards of pickled mango, a creamy Sriracha mayo, and rounds of red onion, all atop a very thick ‘home-made’ beef patty on a sesame bun.
2. Blue Bottle Coffee
What’s better than an iced coffee on a steamy sun-filled day at the beach? Iced coffee prepared “New Orleans Style.” Blue Bottle, one of the concessions near 108th Street, offers up a refreshing twist on the classic iced coffee by adding chicory and whole milk. The result? A richer, smoother and sweeter version of iced coffee that’s perfect to sip while staring out at the big blue Atlantic.
3. Caracas Arepas Bar
Adjacent to Blue Bottle near 108th Street, Caracas Arepas Bar is the perfect beachside stand for a late-in-the day snack. Not only do they serve classic Venezuelan treats like crispy arepas stuffed with tender meat, beans and queso, empanadas, and fried plantains, but they also offer cheap beer, Micheladas, and delicious cool Sangria for those looking to enjoy the perfect happy hour outside as the sun sets.
4. Motorboat & the Big Banana
Two words: frozen. banana. Sure, Motorboat & the Big Banana is a fish-fry stand at it’s core, serving classic fish sandwiches and fish & chips, but the real reason to come here is for the decadent chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. Better than ice cream and coated in a thick layer of chocolate, these frozen bananas are the ideal frozen treat to nosh on when the sun is beating down just a little too much. My favorite? The peanut and sea salt version
5. Veggie Island
I would come here for the frozen lemonade alone. The stand offers coffee, miscellaneous breakfast items and thirst-quenching fruit smoothies, but the real star is the tart-yet-sweet frozen lemonade. Made with fresh lemons, ice, and a touch of sugar, it’s just about perfect.