2006-02-24 / Community

Landmark Restaurant To Open Under New Management

By Howard Schwach

When Mary Polsunas quit her job as a waitress at the Pier 92 Restaurant in Rockaway Beach more than 12 years ago, she never thought that she would be back as a partner and the landmark restaurant on the bay’s new manager.

Polsunas came back to Rockaway recently because of family problems and ran into Dan Tubridy, the restaurant’s long-time owner. Tubridy was looking to retire from the strenuous business and mentioned the fact to Polsunas, who has more than 25 years and professional training in the restaurant business.

“I knew that Pier 92 had lots of possibilities,” she told The Wave. “It also has lots of problems.” Polsunas told Tubridy that she’d like to take it on, and a partnership of sorts was forged.

The new manager first worked for Tubridy at his now-defunct Brooklyn restaurant, “Camelot.” When that restaurant closed, she came to Rockaway to work at Pier 92.

More than a dozen years ago, she and her family moved to Florida, where she worked at a number of restaurants, including the “Blue’s Club” in Panama City, where she was a line cook. After completing a course in food management at Gulf Coast Community College, Polsunas moved into the management end of the business.

Late last year, due to a long-term illness in her family, she moved back to Rockaway.

Polsunas says that her greatest problem in drawing people back to Pier 92 is that the management has to care about the restaurant and its customers. “I have a great restaurant with a prime location,” she says, “There are not too many places around here that are on the water.

I really care – about the food we serve, about the restaurant’s reputation and about our customers.”

“It’s going to be difficult to bring people back,” she adds. “The restaurant was often consistently inconsistent in the past. It’s important that the customers can trust that the food will always be good, always be the same.”

Polsunas has changed the traditional Pier 92 menu with new items, including “the best crab cakes in Rockaway,” fried green tomatoes, Florida Seafood Gumbo and pork osso bucco.

“I’m in this for the long run,” Polsunas says. “I’m back home.”

After a successful trial on Valentine’s Day, the restaurant will open for business on a full-time basis on March 3.

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