Thursday, August 5, 2010

Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill grand opening a star studded affair

Wednesday night marked the opening of Darryl Strawberry's Sports Grill in Douglaston, a short cry from the stadium where he built his legend. Situated next to the LIRR stop in Douglaston, the establishment is easily accessible via public transportation and both the Long Island Expressway and Grand Central Parkway.

Tino Martinez, Darryl Strawberry, and Bernie Williams (N. Diunte)
Partnered with Eytan Sugarman who owns Southern Hospitality BBQ with Justin Timberlake, the two have created an enclave in Queens where families and baseball fans can enjoy great food and New York baseball memorabilia. Omnipresent when you enter are Strawberry's locker from Shea Stadium and two adjacent stadium seats from the former Mets home.

Impressive was the sampling of the menu which included zesty pork sliders, crawfish and cheddar hushpuppies, buffalo shrimp, BBQ chicken and ribs, as well as what they call their "championship chili," which had the right blend of sweet and spicy.

Equally impressive was the mix of sports stars and celebrities for the celebration. Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, Doc Gooden, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Mickey Rivers, Bobby Valentine and current Yankees Nick Swisher and David Robertson were there to lend support to Strawberry's endeavor, as well as former New York Knick John Starks, Miss USA Rima Fakih, the aforementioned Timberlake, Ali Fedotowsky of the Bachlorette and Karina Smirnoff from Dancing with the Stars.

The event began rather innocently with Strawberry making the rounds while the guests sampled the generous food and drink for the evening. Things started to get a little hairy as the celebrities and debutantes entered the building. A free flowing event took the aura of a crowded Manhattan nightclub, with the clientele to match. The crowd of press, family, and friends was forced into the bar area to accommodate the VIP section, blocking off the narrow conduit between the bar and the main bathrooms. A bit of chaos ensued as people tried to jockey for position to take photographs and attempt to travel to the other side of the restaurant.

Aside of the glitz and glamour of the opening night crowd, Strawberry's Grill served up a robust menu of American fare and memorabilia that will please a wide variety of palates and the most sentimental of baseball enthusiasts.

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