An Irregular Spot For Regulars

Gus’s Franklin Park Restaurant, Harrison

A restaurant may be a neighborhood institution yet still not be frequented by others frequently. Such is the case with Gus’s Franklin Park, which Gus Kneuer took over from his in-laws in 1931. (The family lost ownership for a while and regained it, working out some rough patches on Food Network reality TV show Restaurant Stakeout in 2013.) It’s known for “clam shack” food eaten on a patio in summer—but its ownership of the adjoining seafood market inspires confidence any time of year. On a quiet corner, it’s easy to pass. Inside, it’s a hoot.

A jukebox stocks ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s pop and Irish classics; one night, “The Hucklebuck” blared forth. Walls are covered with photos of famous patrons and vintage kitsch. The vinyl booths look like well-preserved originals, and, well, so do many of the customers—and I mean that most affectionately. Walk in, sit down, blend into the woodwork, or strike up a chat—whatever suits your fancy.

“Leslie’s lobster roll,” a must-try, didn’t disappoint. It’s divided into two grilled, top-split hot-dog buns lined with shredded lettuce. Chunks of lobster have just the right amount of mayo seasoned with just a bit of parsley. It comes with finely shredded, non-creamy coleslaw and thin, serviceable fries. Fish and chips is flaky and delicious. A serious seafood menu (steamed or broiled Maine lobster is a signature) includes some soups, salads, broiled fresh fish like brook trout or Boston scrod, plus even a few steaks and burgers; check chalkboards for German specials like kassler rippchen and grilled weisswurst. To drink, a Black and Tan. A generous slice of homemade Key-lime pie is a treat.

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126 Halstead Ave, Harrison (914) 835-9804 |

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