Flynn’s Fire Island will be open for Memorial Day weekend and plans to continue to prepare for the summer ahead.
The family-owned seafood restaurant at 1 Cayuga Street in Ocean Bay Park has been a popular summer destination for the last 82 years and is widely known for its large party scene.
However, this summer many of these major gatherings may not happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s going to be the most difficult year we’ve ever had,” said Tim Flynn, owner of Flynn’s. “We’ve always found ways to work around things — hurricanes, all different kinds of obstacles — but this is something nobody has ever seen before.”
Last fall, Flynn’s was put up for sale for the first time since the seafood restaurant opened in 1937. The waterfront dining destination has been in the Flynn family for five generations.
Flynn’s is still for sale, but Tim said it’s on the back burner right now.
“There aren’t too many people who are interested in buying a business that is closed,” Tim said. “We may have to skip ahead six months to get back into that mode, but you never know.”
Tim said there have been many offers, but the restaurant has not been able to come to any sort of agreement yet.
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Flynn’s owner said the island as a whole is waiting for guidance from the state, but he said if restaurants can only operate 25 percent, he doesn’t know how many businesses can survive on that limitation.
“It’s a pretty tough situation, for everyone really,” Tim said. “But, being a seasonal business and having only 15 weeks, if they take away five or six of them, they’re taking away a third of the year.”
The landmark restaurant will implement the proper safety measures during the continuing restaurant closure.
The waterfront eatery will have its boat marina open this holiday weekend for dockside pickup and docking reservations for boaters. Flynn’s can accommodate up to 60 boats.
“We’re hoping to attract some people that are anxious to get out on the water and take a boat ride,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if 30 or 40 came, and a boat that’s next to each other is more than 6 feet apart.”
The restaurant will definitely consider opening up their outdoor seating area once the state allows it.
“I just came from Florida and while I was down there, they did 25 percent of the indoor seating and all the outdoor seating that you could fit with proper distancing,” Tim said. “I place like ours, that would be a godspeed for us because we could accommodate quite a few people.”
The restaurant is also offering curbside takeout and customers can order by phone or through its website. Masks are required and the restaurant will enforce 6 feet, social distancing.
“We try to do the best we can and make the best of it,” Flynn said. “We just don’t know — we’re gonna be prepared, but until they tell us what we can do, we’re sort of just treading water.”
“I don’t want to cast a shadow on the season, all Fire Islanders have to be very optimistic and you know we tighten our belts and wait for things to open back up,” Tim said. “When they do, I think people are going to flock to Fire Island.”
“Until then, we just got to be good citizens and do what they tell us.”
Photos courtesy of http://www.flynnsfireislandny.com/