Randazzo’s Clam Bar eyes second restaurant on the Coney Island Boardwalk

Pauli and Joey Randazzo think their famous clam chowder would taste great in Coney Island. The family behind Randazzo’s Clam Bar is looking to open a second location on the historic Boardwalk.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Owners of the legendary Randazzo’s Clam Bar in Sheepshead Bay say they have been asked to open an outpost on Coney Island — but they would have to do it at the expense of a less-legendary place: Cha Cha’s Bar on the Boardwalk.

Randazzo’s new Coney restaurant would feature an informal clam bar on the first floor and a fancier, glass-enclosed restaurant with a bar and lounge on the building’s roof, said Joey Randazzo, whose family owns the popular clam bar on Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay.

“The restaurant would have a Coney Island atmosphere but the food would be the same,” Randazzo said.

Randazzo said that he was approached last month by Central Amusement International — the company that runs Luna Park and controls the leases of the Boardwalk businesses within the amusement district — about the possibility of opening an upscale restaurant at Cha Cha’s, a popular honky-tonk watering hole that closed last month after auctioning off all of its contents.

Central Amusement wants to class-up the area by replacing kitschy Boardwalk establishments it has deemed unworthy of doing business on the Boardwalk with fancier restaurants.

But its plan to close all of the Boardwalk stalwarts went off the rails earlier this year when an Italian restaurateur who intended to spend $5 million on four upscale eateries got cold feet when the ice cream shop he opened on the strip failed to live up to expectations.

News of the possibility of Randazzo’s expansion into Coney was first by the blog Amusing the Zillion.

Central Amusement Spokesman Tom Corsillo declined to comment on talks with Randazzo’s.

Randazzo said his family has spent the past five years canvassing Brooklyn, New Jersey and Staten Island to find a place for a second Randazzo’s location, but nothing appealed to the clan — until now.

“Once the Boardwalk is built back up we want to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s going to be a happening place.”

Still, some Boardwalk business owners said that fancier shops would kill the spirit of the People’s Playground.

“There won’t be anymore $5 beers in the new Coney Island,” said Anthony Berlingieri, who sold cheap drinks at his Boardwalk bar Beer Island before Central Amusement gave him the boot on Nov. 1. “They should never have asked us to leave.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310.

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