2002-08-17 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beach... With Beverly Baxter

If you love seafood as much as I do and are looking for a wonderful place to dine out in the city, then you must try The Ocean Grill restaurant located on Columbus Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets. Here is where you will find the ultimate in "raw bar" seafood! On these steamy hot summer nights, there is nothing more refreshing than dining al fresco and having cold shellfish! Depending upon how many are in your party or how much you love "raw bar", you have to order either the Castle or Chateau and be prepared to be in succulent heaven! The waiter brought us the Chateau, which consisted of five tiers of the most sumptuous oysters, lobster claws, New Zealand mussels, Louisiana crawfish, clams, and the biggest and most prawns I've ever seen! All on a bed of crushed ice with various condiments. You must try the crab dip! You must also try the Beluga caviar!

The Ocean Grill is just one of a string of successful restaurants in the B.R. Guest Corporation founded by Stephen Hanson. As a student at Columbia University in the early 1980s, Mr. Hanson supplemented himself by working at T.G.I. Fridays. Upon graduation, his parents expected him to use his business degree and apply it to the running of their Haute Couture Boutique on Long Island. However, Stephen had other plans. With capital raised from family and friends, he, along with two other buddies from Columbia, went into the nightclub business and opened Peach Trees in Westchester. It was so successful that within just a few years time, in 1986, he bought out his partners and ventured into the restaurant business with the opening of the
still widely popular Coconut Grill. Then he opened Isabella's on the Upper West Side. With two enormously successful restaurants under his belt, Stephen ventured downtown and opened the Park Avalon on Park Avenue South; and then, his flagship, the 400 seat Blue Water Grill on Union Square, his fist foray into seafood. In 1998, he opened the Atlantic Grill, a 220 seat bustling bistro boasting raw bar and sushi. He then rendered his talents with Pan-Asian Cuisine, a blending of Thai, Japanese, and Chinese, and opened Ruby Foos on Seventh Avenue and Ruby Foos in Times Square.

In 2001, Hanson partnered with Starwood Hotels and Resorts with the opening of the Blue Fin, a 400-seat flagship located in the Hotel W in Times Square. This past March, he opened Osteria Fiamma. At 43, Stephen Hanson is perhaps the youngest and most successful restaurateur in the city. What more could he possible strive toward? "It's a big country", he states sheepishly, "And there are many more cities!

Although I haven't been to all the restaurants in Mr. Hanson's B.R. GUEST INC. Empire, of those that I have been to, The Ocean Grill is my favorite...and it will be yours too!

***Special Happy Birthday Wishes to Brian Cawley!

   See you...On the Beach!

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