Lundy's Goes Under for the Last Time: Elegy for a Seafood Palace

Lundy's: gone the way of the Automat and Ebbets Field.Photo: Courtesy Slade - B. Merlis Collection.


The great old-time Brooklyn restaurant Lundys is no more. The place closed up without any warning three weeks ago; now, the Bay News reported last week, Lundy's is in chapter 7 bankruptcy, and what remains will be carved up to pay off creditors. This saddens us here at Grub Street. Lundys was one of the very last of the affordable seafood palaces that once catered to Brooklyns middle class.

Located in Sheepshead Bay, Lundys started as a pushcart, then became a clam bar, and then finally a huge restaurant whose stucco walls were literally built from clamshells. From 1934 to 1977, it fed over 2,000 raucous Brooklynites at a time, specializing in bargain Shore Dinners featuring a cup of chowder or house salad, a one-pound whole lobster and a grilled half-chicken, plus sides and dessert for, at last count, $39.95. Even the scaled-down newer version, which reopened after twenty years in 1997 and seated a comparatively paltry 700, was a throwback, a bustling, stand-alone institution catering to a local middle-class clientele. (A Times Square franchising experiment, happily, never got off the ground.)

Now the owner is considering leasing the empty building to Outback Steakhouse. That's where the middle class is expected to eat in Brooklyn now; nobody opens a big restaurant to sell discount shore dinners. One by one, the great democratic New York restaurant institutions have disappeared: the Automat, the Second Avenue Deli, Lundy's. We're sorry to see any of them go.

Lundys Serves Its Last Meal [Bay News]