Seafood City makes changes after infamous brawl

The management of City Island’s Seafood City has announced changes to its menu and operations aimed at preventing incidents like the infamous brawl that took place in February.
Community News Group/Arthur Cusano

The owners of a popular City Island seafood restaurant are working with local leaders to make the establishment safer following a huge brawl caught on video in February.

The ownership of Seafood City, located at 459 City Island Avenue, met with Community Board 10 Friday, March 24, to discuss ways to cut down on potential rowdy behavior in the evening hours.

Approximately 40 patrons were involved in the Thursday, February 23 scrum, fighting amongst themselves and hitting each other with chairs as professional wrestlers are known to do.

Video of the incident quickly went viral on social media sites like Facebook and Youtube, and was featured on news programs both locally and nationally.

Seafood City’s head of security, Dennis Fitzpatrick, posted a statement on the City Island Civic Association’s Facebook page announcing policy changes he would be implementing.

“Our goal is to maintain order and a safe environment for everyone,” he stated. “Unfortunately, this is going to come at a cost for loyal customers and islanders as well.”

Among actions taken will be limiting alcohol sales to one drink per person with an ID to deter patrons form loading up on multiple alcoholic drinks, the removal of some high-alcohol drinks from the menu and banning the serving of alcoholic shots.

New ID scanning equipment is also being purchased, he added.

CB 10 chairman Martin Prince said the restaurant owners discussed how they were addressing the issues that led to the now-infamous brawl.

“They wanted us to know they took the situation quite seriously and that they had already met with residents on City Island and they informed me of what they had informed them,” he said.

Prince said recent inspections of the restaurant by city agencies yielded no notable issues.

However, he said he encouraged business owners to meet with the board even under the best circumstances.

“We try to get the bars and restaurants to come speak with us even when things don’t happen, it helps us get to know who’s in the community and what they are doing,” he said.

CICA president Bill Stanton said he was happy to see the restaurant’s proprietors, who he said were lifelong City Island residents, take the incentive in addressing community concerns.

“They are willing to work with law enforcement, the community and other restaurants to mitigate all the issues that City Islanders have, as far as criminality and quality of life,” he said.

Stanton also said he was pleased the restaurant had set up an email account for residents to submit concern and complaints, seafoodcityconcerns@gmail.com.

Seafood City, and City Island as a whole, shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of some unruly patrons, he argued.

“It’s (on) people with a ghetto mentality that think throwing chairs and filming it is acceptable,” Stanton said. “It’s not in Seafood City’s best interest for them to become known as an alternate location for the WWE.”

The restaurant has not faced significant charges from the New York State Liquor Authority.

There is only one SLA case on file dating back to 2012 that included seven charges: failure to properly post required signage and license, unspecified health, fire or safety violations and selling liquor at a shack on the property without permission.

The restaurant was fined $2,500 for the infractions by the SLA Board in February 2013, according to the agency’s spokesman William Crowley.

The restaurant was last granted a liquor license on February 1, 2016. That license expires on January 31, 2018.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 742–4584. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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