RIP Strawberry's

Man I'm gonna really miss this place... I was born and raised in Douglaston, NY. After hearing Darryl Strawberry was opening a restaurant down the street from where I grew up excited would be an understatement. I'm just about to turn 32 and since I've been legal to drink that location has been the home to around 5 different restaurants. Clearly, they all failed. After seeing the strong start Strawberry's had I felt we would have them around for good. Just over 2 years later they are now added to that obituary. Of course fingers will be pointed and blame will be tossed around but the number one thing I felt was part of the demise was the amount of people involved. It seemed like every couple months a new manager was being introduced and there was never a sense of stability with the staff. To my knowledge only a few employees are still around from the start. Also, this location NEEDED to have the neighborhoods support. In the location they are in they simply would not draw a consistent crowd from neighboring towns. It's on a dead end street off Northern Blvd, gets absolutely no foot traffic except from LIRR commuters and you wouldn't even know it's there unless someone told you. Baseball fans from all over would come visit hoping to possibly meet Darryl and check out all the cool memoribilia. That's always a great crowd to draw but that isn't consistent. The neighborhood is consistent. When the menu changed, prices went up, specials disapeared, beer tap inventory turned to specialty craft beers and management changed for the umpteenth time I knew it was the beginning of the end. They lost the neighborhood support. They dropped almost all of their burgers and added lobster macaroni and cheese. This was backwards. They had the neighborhood crowd in their back pocket and lost it. They had a great thing going. PACKED houses for all baseball and football games. One Monday night Jets game comes to mind where you could barely squeeze through the front door. They needed the sports bar feel, not fine dining. I walked in one day this summer and the usual baseball colored t-shirts the staff were wearing changed to black button up long sleeve dress shirts. Huge strike on that one. Last year I went down for the All Star game and had to sit in the back room because it was so packed. This year I went with my parents and girlfriend rushing down to make sure we could find a seat. There was only eight people at the bar. Four of them were us. I don't know Darryl's actual involvement besides his name on the awning and that was never my place to ask. There are multiple owners connecting them to Southern Hospitality in NYC. Darryl would pop in at least once a month and we actually became pretty close. Having a legend know me by name was a huge honor and I was more than happy to help grow his business. Since the start I've been a part of their promotional team. Not on the books, but would help out when I could. Promoting for them on both my Twitter and Facebook, hosting parties at their bar and also including their flyer's in with all of our orders. If you've shopped with us before you've seen your packages filled with different things promoting their place. Darryl's brother Michael I can't say enough nice things about. Always a smiling face with a warm greeting at the door for anyone who entered. His heart and soul was behind this business and I know deep down he wanted the business to survive. The bad calls made for this place were not his doing. He moved here from California to work for the restaurant and I wish him nothing but the best in whatever he has planned for his next step. We'll all be there tomorrow for one last goodbye. If you've never been or want to have a beer with us I'll be there in time for the Jets game. RIP STAWBERRY'S! Great food, great times! I'm gonna miss you!

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