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Eat and Drink

Where to eat in Rockaway Beach, Queens

Rockaway Beach has made its name as a go-to summer spot, with its trendy boardwalk eateries and laid-back surf vibe. But don’t write off this beachside retreat in the colder months -- Rockaway's restaurants, cafes and wine bars cook up tasty dishes for locals year-round.

Sure, the vibe may be more sleepy than surfer, but it’s still worth the trek to the end of the A line. And while you’re there, take in the abandoned boardwalk and empty beach -- a different (and calmer) view of a spot that's usually jam-packed with summer revelers.

Rockaway Roasters

You'll be ready for a pick-me-up after a
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pry

You'll be ready for a pick-me-up after a trip over the channel on the Rockaway shuttle, so swing by Rockaway Roasters, a cool coffee shop with all the fixings of a neighborhood hangout. Check out the local art on the walls and settle into a well-worn chair with a cup of freshly brewed Stumptown coffee. Try the popular frozen acai bowl -- a delicious layered parfait of frozen acai, crunchy granola and fresh fruit topped with coconut flakes. Too cold for something frozen? The cafe has soups, sandwiches and an assortment of baked pastries. (Rockaway Roasters, 92-06 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 718-474-2500, rockawayroasters.com)

The Fat Cardinal Bakery

New to the block is the Fat Cardinal
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pry

New to the block is the Fat Cardinal Bakery -- the bakers behind this small counter have been sharing space with Uncle Louie G's Ice Cream since 2016. The space may be small, but the baked goods are mighty. Try Fat Cardinal Bakery's twist on a classic -- the oatmeal currant cookie, which is made with currants, cardamom and orange zest. Or channel those summer vibes with the popular s'mores pie -- a graham cracker base with a chocolate ganache and homemade toasted marshmallow fluff. Heat it up and pretend you're at a beach bonfire. Not heading to Rockaway? The bakery sells cookies, pies and custom cakes online, too. (The Fat Cardinal Bakery, 9210 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 347-989-4322, fatcardinalbakery.com)

Chicks To Go Peruvian Rotisserie

Chicks To Go may look unassuming from the
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pry

Chicks To Go may look unassuming from the outside -- you might even walk past the unmarked storefront on first pass -- but this tiny takeout counter is cooking up incredible Peruvian dishes. Try the chicken empanada, a steaming pouch of tender chicken in a creamy Peruvian pepper sauce. For something heartier, snag a seat at the single table and dig into a combo platter: For $6, you get a piece of their namesake rotisserie chicken and a side. Try the camote -- baked and fried sweet potato patties served with a sweet syrup. (Chicks To Go, 97-02 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 718-945-4100, chicks-togo.com)

Uma's

Uma's is the perfect antidote for frigid winter
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pry

Uma's is the perfect antidote for frigid winter weather; hearty Eurasian food and an extensive beer and wine list will make it easy to spend a leisurely lunch inside this popular Rockaway spot. Try the plov, the national dish of Uzbekistan: rice with beef, carrots and raisins. And make sure to bring a friend and share the manti -- four giant steamed dumplings, filled with spiced meat or squash, served with pickled onions and a dill yogurt sauce. Or eat it all yourself ... beach season is months away! (Uma's, 92-07 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 718-318-9100, umasrestaurant.tumblr.com)

Sayra’s Wine Bar and Bier Garden

The beer garden may be closed for the
Photo Credit: Sayra’s Wine Bar and Bier Garden

The beer garden may be closed for the winter months, but Sayra's is still serving up wine and craft beers alongside a full menu of tapas and small plates in its cozy inside space. Warm up with a glass of mulled red wine and share a bowl of house-marinated olives. Still hungry? Order BBQ pork sliders or a stick-to-your ribs plate of truffle three-cheese mac. Want a bottle to go? Sayra's sister wine shop Ship to Shore is a block away on 88-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd. (Sayra's Wine Bar and Bier Garden, 91-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 347-619-8009)

Beach Bistro 96

Take advantage of the empty off-season by snagging
Photo Credit: Beach Bistro 96

Take advantage of the empty off-season by snagging a table at this tiny go-to Rockaway spot. Serving up Brazilian fare, Beach Bistro 96 cooks up specialties like the Romeo and Juliette pasteis -- a Brazilian-style empanada filled with fresh cheese and guava paste. Feeling more adventurous? The popular beach destination is known for its tapioca -- chewy crepes made with tapioca flour and stuffed with savory fillings like classic cheese and spinach, or the sweet Beijinho, filled with coconut flakes and strawberries and topped with condensed milk. (Beach Bistro 96, 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 718-474-6000, beachbistro96.com)

The Rock

Spend a chilly evening cozied up at The
Photo Credit: The Rock

Spend a chilly evening cozied up at The Rock, a Rockaway wine bar boasting wines from Long Island and Brooklyn, craft beers, as well as cheese plates and tapas perfect for splitting with friends. Try the house-marinated citrus and herb olives along with a glass of the namesake Red Rock cabernet sauvignon, made at Brooklyn's Red Hook Winery. Still wishing for summer? Try the carnitas tacos with pickled onions and avocado pico de gallo. The restaurant also features live music. (The Rock NYC, 92-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Queens, 718-838-8916, therocknyc.com)

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