rockaway beach

Here’s How the Talented Chefs of Rockaway Beach Throw a Dinner Party

Baker Sarah Owens, author of Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More, regularly does pop-ups in Rockaway.

The restaurant scene at Rockaway Beach is vibrant, diverse, and ever-changing — and this weekend’s benefit dinner at Off Season, organized by the MP Shift to raise funds for Rockaway Rising, captured that energy. Local mainstays — like “pizza Nazi” Whitney Aycock — cooked alongside relative newcomers, like Robert Wagner and Matt Webster, who opened a breakfast joint named Brothers this summer, and Lima natives Leyla and Ximena Yrala. And in a real marriage of old-guard meets new, Aycock plated the dessert of his new business partner, pastry chef Tracy Obolsky.

If you haven’t yet made it to Rockaway this summer, consider this a call to action. (And remember that many restaurants, like the Yrala sisters’ Chicks to Go, stay open year-round.) Overall, the food is delicious without being fussy, and the select few chefs who chose to grow their businesses there are passionate about their community. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find:

Aycock with one of his local customers. Photo: Miachel Breton
Fox Fodder Farm made the centerpieces. Photo: Miachel Breton
Live music courtesy of White Merlot's Justin Vegh and Omaesh Persaud. Photo: Miachel Breton
Leyla and Ximena Yrala made Peruvian ceviche. Photo: Miachel Breton
They have a seasonal stand on the boardwalk, La Cevicheria. Photo: Miachel Breton
Cosme chef Daniela Soto-Innes was one of the guests. Photo: Miachel Breton
Rockaway Taco alums Robert Wagner and Matt Webster opened Brothers this summer, with a focus on wholesome dishes. For the event, they made rice with corn, chile, and shishito peppers, plus a tomato salad. Photo: Miachel Breton
Owens grilled Emmer wheat flatbread. Photo: Miachel Breton
Not pictured: lots of Goody's ribs. Photo: Miachel Breton
Tracy Obolsky's chamomile pavlova with lemon curd, blueberries, and honeycomb candy. Photo: Miachel Breton
How the Chefs of Rockaway Beach Throw a Dinner Party