(As told to Max Rivlin-Nadler)
Larry Liedy, owner of Liedy’s Shore Inn
Jody Hagerty’s place, an Irish pub called Jody’s Club Forest (372 Forest Avenue). A really outstanding place. Entrées are like $14 to $16. Jody just passed away. I used to tend bar there. It’s the elite Irish pub on Staten Island. We used to have many Irish here, a lot of pubs, but now they’re all gone. They all died out, and no more are coming. All the drinking and the smoking, I can tell you, it didn’t help in terms of health. But the smoking ban didn’t help either. A lot of guys, truckers, would come into the neighborhood bars and have a beer and a cigarette. Now that you gotta smoke outside, the truckers just have a cigarette. They skip the beer. That’s where you lose the money.
Best steakhouse on Staten Island, hands down, is Ruddy and Dean (44 Richmond Terrace). The reason why it’s called Ruddy and Dean is it’s the owner’s grandmothers’ maiden names. Grade A steakhouse, as good as any in Manhattan. People come over from Manhattan for the bargain, because the prices are that great. The wheel is going to be right over in front of their place, so they’ll do good business. Question is whether people will keep walking past that and check out other parts of Staten Island.
One of the things that people really should know about is the Snug Harbor Cultural Center (1000 Richmond Terrace). It used to be where all the retired sailors would end up, built by Robert Randall, a very wealthy guy during Revolutionary times. He gave his estate to the sailors, because these guys lived on the water for the first forty years of their life, but then they had nowhere to go once they got off their boats. They’d come from Snug Harbor over to our bar, just down the street, or I’d deliver whiskey right to their rooms. These guys would be drinking morning, afternoon, and night. Beers were five cents. But now it’s this beautiful place, they got shows, a garden, just incredibly peaceful. Very different than what it was, I’ll tell you that much.
The first brewery on Staten Island in 75 years, called the Flagship Brewery (40 Minthorne Street). These breweries are the new thing now. It’s in an old car dealership, used to sell Buicks there. Now they make beer. Right off the train tracks. They got a goldmine there. Lot of young people, very different scene. Great beer. You gotta see this. They get a lot of grants from the government, which is great, but I can’t get shit. These neighborhood bars, it’s a lot of stress. Every day in my life I wonder how long I’m going to keep doing this. Oldest bar in Staten Island. Closing it is a decision I hope I never have to make, but I got to be a realist.