Another Great Roslyn Landmark



As you drive on Roslyn Road in either direction, the Ellen E. Ward Clock Tower is the sight most familiar to motorists. There are others, including the string of historic homes and now, the Mackay Statue in Gerry Park. Another mainstay is The Jolly Fisherman Steak House, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in the village next year.

The restaurant was purchased by the Scheiner family in 1957 and has stayed in family hands ever since. Steve Scheiner, the current chef/owner is the son if the original proprietor.

As the restaurant approaches its anniversary, Scheiner talked with The Roslyn News on its remarkable longevity.

“We work hard,” he said. “We don’t take any shortcuts. We never take the easy way out. Every day, we come to work thinking, “How can today be as good or better than yesterday?”

Scheiner’s family moved to Roslyn from Manhattan. His father, along with Scheiner’s grandparents, owned a restaurant on 113th Street that catered, mostly, to the Columbia University faculty. One day, as Scheiner later learned, his father was wheeling his young son in a carriage on a street on the Upper West Side. In “10 minutes,” as Scheiner related, the carriage was covered with black soot from a nearby building. And so, the family moved to Roslyn to give their children the experience of what was then country living with fresh air.

The Scheiners then sold the Manhattan restaurant and purchased The Jolly Fisherman Steak House from its original owners, who themselves had started the restaurant in the early 1950s. In addition to the Roslyn location, there was, at the time, another Jolly Fisherman in Connecticut. This Jolly Fisherman was a good bet, not only because Roslyn was in the midst of a boom, but because it was doing so while keeping its bucolic charms. As local residents know, the restaurant overlooks Gerry Pond at the end of Hempstead Harbor, giving diners a spectacular view of one of Long Island’s most historic villages. “People love the window tables,” Scheiner said.

In addition to the scenery, there is, of course, the cuisine. Taking no shortcuts means not ordering fish or meat that may be easier to process but is lacking in quality.

“Our commitment to excellent food and the satisfaction of our customers is what drives us. Diners seeking straightforward, top-quality seafood and steaks know they can depend on us for great food, caring service and value, time after time,” said Scheiner. And so, the Jolly Fisherman Steak House, Scheiner said, serves only the freshest highest-quality seafood and prime-aged meats.

That commitment to quality bears itself out not only in a loyal customer base, but also in the restaurant’s perennial success in the Oakdale Chowder Contest. Year in and year out, The Jolly Fisherman Steak House almost always takes first place in the Manhattan clam chowder contest and has done the same many times in the New England clam chowder competition.

“Fads come and go, and we keep going,” Scheiner said, summing up the restaurant’s successful philosophy.

For the future, The Jolly Fisherman Steak House is undergoing renovation work, right down to redesigning its menu selections. Scheiner has also noticed that the restaurants clientele is younger than ever, assuring a future as prosperous as the restaurant’s storied past.


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Joe Scotchie is the editor of both The Roslyn News and New Hyde Park Illustrated News. In 2009, he won a New York State Press Association award for a sports feature. Joseph Scotchie’s past publications include biographies of Thomas Wolfe and Richard Weaver and a comprehensive history of the city of Asheville, North Carolina.

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