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Strawberry's Sports Grill Shuts Its Doors

Bar and grill owned by former Mets slugger Darryl Strawberry goes out of business.

Just two years after debuting in Douglaston, Strawberry’s Sports Grill shut its doors permanently this past weekend.

The eatery, located along 235th Street near the community’s Long Island Rail Road station, was owned and operated by former Mets and Yankees slugger Darryl Strawberry and his brother, Michael.

The restaurant could not be reached for comment on closing its doors Sunday, but posted a statement on its Facebook page.

“After two wonderful years, we sadly announce that Strawberry’s Sports Grill has shut its doors for the last time,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, things have just run their course. We will take the wonderful memories and keep them in our hearts always. This was a beautiful two years that we’ll never forget.”

It was unclear why Strawberry’s closed down, but a spokeswoman for the city’s Health Department said that a rating for the restaurant had been pending.

Community leaders and residents said they were disappointed by the closing of the eatery.

“A couple of months ago, there was a rumor that it might close but then it went away,” said Rosemarie Guidice, who works at Station Realty across the street from Strawberry’s. “You never want to see a business go out around here.”

Douglas Montgomery, a local realtor, said the restaurant appeared to be popular.

“The place was often packed,” he said. “My kids loved it. It’s a big loss for the neighborhood.”

But Montgomery said the eatery had recently been “scaling back” by closing early on Mondays and opening later on other days of the week.

Patch wants to hear from readers who ate or dropped by for drinks at Strawberry’s Sports Grill? Are you disappointed or surprised that the eatery shut down? Post your comments in the section provided below.

cmjake October 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Had a lovely meal there. Friends are huge fans. Too bad!
Phil Konigsberg October 15, 2012 at 03:39 PM
We were there several times and had the pleasure of meeting Daryl one evening. His brother Michael was just as gracious and their staff was very competent. The food was always excellent. I noticed that when they changed their menu recently they discontinued their special brisket filled hamburger. I thought that their brisket filled burger (I forgot the name that it was called) was THE BEST HAMBURGER I tasted. To top it off, Strawberry's contributed a portion of the price charged to Daryl's charity. The memorabilia in the restaurant was like a mini-hall of fame - you did not have to travel to Cooperstown (although it's worth the trip) to see Daryl's contribution to New York's baseball history that satisfied both Yankees and Mets fans. I will miss a good meal and a fun place to go, especially in such a quaint area of Douglaston that it was located.
Joyce October 15, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Unfortunately, the business was poorly run and attempts to advise management by patrons fell on deaf ears. It was only a matter of time before this happened.....they lasted longer than I had originally thought they would. We need a nice neighborhood tavern with home-style cooking that knows the customer's likes and they MUST adhere to a stricter policy of not giving away booze. That was Strawberry's biggest mistake!
Arthur Arlo October 16, 2012 at 02:59 AM
What a shame. But it is LOCATION LOCATON LOCATION.
Arthur Arlo October 16, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I hope he tries again with more advertisements
Dawn Andrew October 16, 2012 at 03:44 AM
We are really sad that Strawberry's closed. My sons loved eating there. Problem is no one outside of Douglaston/Bayside knew they were there unless they were followed Darryl on facebook. I wish they would have advertised outside of the immediate area. Would have made a huge difference.
Jaime October 16, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Good job reporting Nathan Duke! The best I've read on Strawberry's closing. But you still need to get to the bottom of it. Why is it that whenever a restaurant closes in Douglaston, nobody seems to know the exact reason for it? I find it hard to believe that neither of the Strawberry brothers knows why place closed. The times I visited (at lunch and dinner time), the place was well attended. The help was cordial and attentive; and the location was certainly not a problem: on a major street, at the railroad station and ample reduced parking across the street. There is another restaurant a couple of doors down that does not seem to be affected by the location! Apparently, there must have been management problems that had little to do with the patrons or the staff. Will we ever find out? Maybe the cooks' temper flared-up and they walked away. Maybe, as one reader pointed out above, the brisket burger's removal from the menu caused turmoil in the kitchen. Maybe the Patch can help us find out..
Phil Konigsberg October 16, 2012 at 04:29 AM
There seems to be contention of the location being a possible cause for Strawberry's closing. I actually considered the location as a strong point. I guess we should have had a clue that things were not going well, when they pulled out of the festival that was successful last year.
cmjake October 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Maybe they weren't having fun anymore and didn't need the money??? Next.
Joyce October 16, 2012 at 03:52 PM
I agree with Dawn's comment above. Many people that I know who do not live in our area had never heard of Strawberry's. Advertising is a key component for success of any business. This was also the downfall of the previous tenants....George Martin and the manager who took over and changed the name. NO advertising equals slow to no business. Still sad to see them go. They should have gotten that "bar guy" from TV to come in and identify their issues and revamp the place. Maybe they would still be there!
DJ October 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Sorry to hear it. I had a few meals there and they were really very good! I'm not surprised though in this economy! They were difficult to find. I live right up the street and had difficulty finding them because 235th st. is difficult to find if you don't know the area.
Sean October 17, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Anyone who went here with any frequency knows why it closed. It closed due to the staff. They were all very nice and congenial. Some were great; like the small barback guy and one of the bartenders with blond hair come to mind. It looked like most of the staff had never worked in their positions before. Most of the bartenders were more interested in chatting up girls or hanging out with their friends and each other. It took forever to order a drink, and you felt like you were asking for their life when doing so. In most well run places a bartender notices when you need another and promptly asks you. I don't think that ever happened with me in the 2 years it was open. Most times you would wait 20 minutes ( no kidding) if they even remembered to come back with it. Couple this with all of their friends drinking for practically free and your bar failure is obvious. The restaurant was just as bad except for the food in the beginning. You would get frustarted waiting until you looked over at the bar where they would all gather. I once was told that they were very busy in the kitchen. This would have been a great excuse w/out the chef standing at the end of the bar watching the football game. Some tips for the next restaurant. Hire competent staff; not just nice people Don't overprice your menu due to the affluence of the neighborhood nearby (it's why the last two failed) Don't let your staff run the place and give your profits away. Best of luck!
cmjake October 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Just another tax write-off.
Tony October 18, 2012 at 02:50 AM
I am a local resident of Douglaston. Last week, I decided to order a takeout of the BBQ ribs. I went in, none of the staff bothered to take my order. I stayed there for a minuite like an idiot. I got fed up and left and went to the Chinese resturant across the street instead. The staff there did not even care for my business. So when I heard they closed, I was not surprised. Darryl, if you are reading this, I am still the biggest fan of yours. However, I wished you invested more time in protect your namesake. Your name truly has the potential of being famous like The George Forman grill, or a Grimaldis, or Gino's cheesesteak. Your business partners and the staff are so inept and suceeded in dragging your namesake in the mud. Darryl, please look for competent business partners and re-open your resturant. I would also like to see you take a more active role in the front promoting your resturant again and keeping an eye out on your staff. These staff are supposed to represent you and your namesake. Good luck.
Tony October 18, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Sean, Amen to that. I hope that Darryl is reading this and take your advice.
Phil Konigsberg October 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Tony, from what i understand Daryl has been residing in Missouri for sometime and was only at his restaurant occasionally. I guess he thought his brother would be able to manage things better than it turned out, based on the above description of taking care of customers. I was a big fan of Pete Rose and after many years after being out of the game, I went to a place he had in southern Florida where he did a daily radio broadcast from. That place was hoping and he was always there for his show. I have no idea if that is still around or how long it lasted.
Tony October 18, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Hi Phil: Oh, I did not realize he lives in Missouri. Well, if he's interested, he may fare better if he decides to open a resturant there. It is hard to have a sucessful business if he only shows up, occasionally.
Matt October 19, 2012 at 02:39 AM
As a Patron of Strawberries for 2 years and someone who got to know the ins and outs of their business I can tell you multiple issues with what is being said. First, Darryl did not own the restaurant. He simply received a monthly royalty for his name and to show up as some of you said, every so often. Originally the restaurant was managed by the same team as Southern Hospitality (Timberlakes Restarant in NYC). Anyone who was there in last 6 months noticed a menu and bar tap change. That was because SH was removed as manager. Then the beer taps went from $3 millers to $9 Arogant Bastard Ales. In my opinion I liked the better beer but the crowd was lost. Most people went there with few bucks to watch some games. Not a credit card waiting for a $100 bill. Then they changed the menu back in the last couple weeks along with the beer taps. Too little too late. Blame management. A first mate is only as good as is Captain. Can't blame the staff. I hope something comes in. My opinion, Buffalo Wild Wings. Corporate Structure, fixed prices, corporate backing, and as someone said earlier, Advertising!!!
Tony October 19, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yes, that place should have been aired as an eposide of Chef Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. I would love to see Chef Ramsey curse out and berate the management and staff there! LoL
Elaine October 21, 2012 at 10:21 PM
There has always been a bar/restaurant at that location--The first was the Weeping Beech which was part of the neighborhood for many years at that SAME location.
Jo October 22, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I agree with the above posts: Good food, decent prices, good spaces, always hopping (no matter what season, because there was always a game of some sort on the TVs). From what I just read in the Little Neck Ledger, Daryl is studying to be a minister, and has not has time recently to devote to advertising the place better,

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