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Strawberry opens eatery in Douglaston

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Hundreds of people descended upon 235th Street in Douglaston last week for the opening of Darryl Strawberry’s new restaurant, which the Mets legend vowed would provide an affordable dining experience for families and sports fans.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill, at 42-15 235th St. in Douglaston, was filled to the brim last Thursday with Queens residents, who sampled ribs, chili and a variety of menu items. The slugger celebrated the debut of his restaurant in the same week as his induction into the New York Mets’ hall of fame.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” said Strawberry, who greeted most of the evening’s attendees as they made their way through the door of his eatery. “People can watch sports here. It’s affordable for families.”

The grill’s walls were adorned with memorabilia from Strawberry’s 16-year career with the Mets, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The home run king helped lead the Mets to a World Series championship in 1986 as well as playing with the Yankees during three World Series wins in 1996, 1998 and 1999.

The restaurant, which has 160 seats, is owned by Strawberry and Eytan Sugarman, who also operates Manhattan’s Southern Hospitality restaurant chain.

“I wanted to make this special for the borough of Queens,” Strawberry said of his Douglaston venture. “I’m a New York guy.”

Strawberry, sporting a red tie, white-and-red striped shirt, a vest and tan slacks, wandered through the crowd to ensure his guests were having a good time.

“You guys have fun,” he told attendees as he wandered around the crowded restaurant. “Enjoy yourselves.”

A long line stretched down the block as guests waited to enter the grill, which was located in the former site of a steakhouse near the Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station. Popular songs from the 1980s and early ’90s blared on the restaurant’s speakers.

Guests included former baseball players Tino Martinez, Bobby Valentine, Mickey Rivers and Bernie Williams.

A number of attendees watched baseball games on the high-definition televisions along the grill’s walls.

The original locker Strawberry used at Shea Stadium as well as a piece of that stadium’s original foul pole were among the highlights of memorabilia displayed in the restaurant.

The grill’s menu includes a wide variety of sandwiches, such as 10-ounce beef burgers, lamb burgers and a grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich with guacamole.

But its selections also feature chicken wings, pulled pork sliders, salads, crawfish, cheddar hush puppies, baby back ribs, several varieties of steak, chili made with ground beef and slow smoked brisket with red beans, peppers, red onions, shredded cheese and sour cream as well as a full desert menu. The Grand Slam Appetizer Platter includes seven items.

Strawberry said he had a favorite selection from the extensive menu.

“I think my favorites are the collard greens and the mac and cheese, but we also have great burgers,” he said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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