Flynn’s: A Fire Island Classic

Flynn’s Fire Island

1 Cayuga St, Ocean Bay Park, NY 11770

(631) 583-5000 •







Known to generations of Fire Islanders as a one of the premier dining and dancing destinations on the Great South Bay, Flynn’s in Ocean Bay Park continues to reinvent itself every season. The family-owned establishment is celebrating its 86th anniversary this summer.

While locals know Flynn’s as a family dining spot with sweeping sunset views of the bay, many Long Islanders know the restaurant for its weekend dancing with live bands and DJs. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, lively dance parties center around the indoor and outdoor bars while families dine comfortably in a separate seating area on an enclosed bayside deck, which is available for private parties. Docking is offered free of charge in Flynn’s adjacent marina for patrons ordering entrées.

A third generation of the Flynn family is now involved in management of the establishment. When founder John Flynn and his wife, Katherine, opened what was then called the Casino in Ocean Bay Park in 1937, only 20 homes on lots sold by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle existed in town. After the hurricane of 1938 devastated the area, the couple and their five sons focused their efforts on renting and operating Maguire’s Restaurant in Ocean Beach. In 1949, they returned full-time to Ocean Bay Park and turned the Casino into Flynn’s Restaurant and established Flynn’s Hotel on the ocean beach directly south of the restaurant. The hotel operates as the Fire Island Beach House today.

John and Katherine’s grandson, Luke, served as host when I visited recently for a sunset dinner overlooking the docks. Executive Chef John Doran, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, is now in his seventh year at Flynn’s. Doran said he retains favorite menu items every season while adding new and interesting dishes.

A friend and I started with a few signature cocktails. I could tell the blood orange paloma, featuring Patron Silver tequila and fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, was reasonably strong, although the liquor did not overpower the cool, refreshing juice. The summer mule was my favorite of the cocktails we sampled. Its Grey Goose vodka with St. Germain, lime, and ginger beer was the perfect cool-down on hot evening. The cold-brewed espresso martini, with Stoli Vanilla and Kahlua, was my friend’s favorite.

The first dish, a chilled watermelon salad, was unexpectedly delightful. Again, the night was hot, and the generous serving of watermelon was cool, juicy, and refreshing. Topped with pickled onions, mint, and lime and complemented with chunks of feta, the salad is a new recommendable favorite.

Our main course was a beautifully presented double-cut pork chop with caramelized onions and apple brandy cream sauce. Sliced apples were a pleasant surprise and pared well with the dish. The chop was thick and fell off the bone and was topped with cranberry sauce. Served with potato au gratin, the pork chops are another dish I may not have initially ordered if it wasn’t recommended, only because I tend to enjoy Flynn’s seafood samplings. However, it too is a new favorite.

Although we were both rather full after the first two courses, Luke suggested sampling the Hawaiian classic ahi tuna poke bowl. As a fan of poke bowls, I couldn’t resist and was not disappointed. The tuna was fresh and tasteful, with a generous helping of pineapple and cucumber chunks with sweet Maui onion and spicy Fresno chilis.

Two frozen cocktails were enjoyed before dessert: Flynn’s signature Rocket Fuel, and a refreshing watermelon breeze with Stoli Orange Vodka, triple sec, and pink lemonade.

The evening wrapped up with a decadent brownie sundae and a bowl of creamy rice pudding, complete with a Sunday Funday umbrella. Dessert was delicious, but we were nearly too full to finish.

In addition to fine dining, Flynn’s has a full calendar of events planned for the rest of the summer, which is available on their website. Advance tickets are required for some Labor Day weekend dance events, as they typically sell out.