The much-anticipated transformation of the old Molly Malone’s in Bay Shore into the gleaming-new Whalers Restaurant is complete.
Whalers opened last week, offering water views and plenty of elbow room in the completely renovated two-story building at the end of Maple Avenue on the water.
“There really is nothing like this out here,” said co-owner Nikki Kappus, who undertook the massive project earlier this year with her family. “We’ve been residents of this area our whole lives and wanted to bring a restaurant that had our comfort food growing up,” said Kappus, who grew up in Islip.
The old Irish Pub had been vacant before work on Whalers began earlier this year.
The new Whalers Restaurant and catering hall offers elevated American comfort food with a Korean-Asian and Latin flair.
“There is a little bit for everyone,” said chef Desmond Lim, a 19-year veteran chef who was also a contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped.
“We have the traditional dishes with a little twist to it,” he said.
Take the crab cakes.
“Most crab cakes are typically served with coleslaw and tartar sauce,” Lim explained. “Ours is served with a Mexican-styled elote corn salad, a little avocado, and Sriracha mayo.”
And the price point for the dishes won’t break the bank either, Kappus says.
“We want to be a place where people can eat two, three times a week,” she said.
Since opening on Tuesday, Oct. 10, Kappus says there’s been a lot of excitement and positive feedback from patrons.
“People are so thrilled that we are finally opened,” she said.
One of the more popular items thus far has been the braised short rib, which is served with fried rice and a sunny side up egg.
“I’ve had some people who couldn’t finish it,” said Lim.
At 11,000 square feet and a 400-person occupancy, Whalers also offers plenty of space for more than just dining.
And Whalers is paying homage to its predecessors by bringing back live music on the weekends, where revelers get to pull up to the restaurant on boats as well.
“We are keeping that tradition alive, but in our own way,” said Kappus.
Aside from the main entrance dining area, there is the outside section that is on the water, as well as a second floor that overlooks the Great South Bay.
The second story, which also has projector screen for gatherings, will offer both casual dining and catering.
“We booked parties before we even opened the doors,” said Kappus.
IF YOU GO
As of now, Whalers is open Mondays through Wednesdays for dinner only, and Thursdays through Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving both lunch and dinner.
On Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. a special brunch menu is served that includes unlimited Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas for two hours. Tuesday night visitors are treated to a $30 discounted lobster bake served with Maine lobster, shrimp, clams, corn, and potatoes. It’s $1 oysters on Thursday.
For the frequent Fire Island travelers, a take-out menu is in the works for those catching or coming off the ferries.
Top: The braised short rib and crab cakes at Whalers’ outdoor seating. (Nicholas Esposito)