There’s a few things you should know about Fire Island before visiting:
It’s kind of a pain to get to.
It’s not that fun.
Just kidding on the last part. Had to lure you in somehow.
I actually really like Fire Island, but you have to be the beachy, boozing, biking type. I happen to be most of those things (minus the biking), but be advised it’s a small island with very few cars allowed on it (literally only Verizon trucks it seems) and you walk/bike everywhere.
It’s really nice for a getaway; you can rent a house and spend quality time with your family, or you can rent a house and get shitty with your friends. This is your vacation, so make it your occasion. I spent it with my boyfriend and his family in Ocean Beach, and for someone who has zero drinking capabilities anymore, it was a good choice. Seeing all the hungover ferry riders on Sunday made me realize how much I don’t miss that. I enjoy a good bender every now and then too, but I’m no 22 year old. I have to accept my limitations.
If you’re someone around my ripe age of 33, believe me you will feel a little old on Fire Island on a weekend. Case in point: me and the bf went to get coffee Friday morning and there was a small group of girls holding two wagons full of Twisted Tea and Franzia. It was 10 am. Get the picture yet? Also, to all the men out there…and I mean this in the least creepy way possible…this island is crawling with girls. I don’t know why exactly, but the girl to guy ratio seemed like 80/20. So the odds will ever be in your favor, apparently.
Onto the important stuff aka the food. It was a mix of really great and really mediocre. Personally, I enjoyed the wine-filled BBQ nights at home the most (see above). But if you must go out, I think these were my favorites (and please be advised that I didn’t try every restaurant):
Ocean Beach, Fire Island
- Rachel’s Bakery and Restaurant. A local favorite, from restaurant to bakery to coffee. They have everything you want, but it ain’t cheap. For example, on our last day, we paid roughly $10 for a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel. That’s pretty outrageous, BUT it was probably one of the best BEC’s I’ve ever had. No regrets. I also can’t complain about the cookie/brownie concoction I had there. Definitely worth the trip. And I had a bunch of people on Instagram tell me about their coffee cake, so I will have to try that next time.
- Island Mermaid. Very pretty waterfront views and great seafood. Everything in Fire Island is fairly casual, but this one feels a bit more upscale, even though it doesn’t look it from the outside. I recommend it for that one “nice dinner” everyone must do. They also had live music towards the end of the night, which was a really nice touch. Couples and children got up to dance, and I sat back and watched as I ate my dinner. The scallops were delicious, and don’t sleep on the fried calamari either.
- Maguires. So…the last time I was at Maguires was about 5 years ago, and I barely remember it, if you get my drift. This time, I was with a lovely family complete with two adorable children. None of whom were mine, mind you, but damn seeing Maguires through sober adult eyes is quite different. The food was ok, but it could use some facelifts here and there. Truthfully, I don’t think people come here for the excellent cuisine, but some things should be better than they were. The mahi mahi was pretty dry and small for the pricepoint. The calamari, and the pineapple filled with shrimp and scallops were the only things I could describe as tasty and memorable. Sorry to be mean, but I wouldn’t blow my bank account on this one for dinner unless you are looking for ambiance over food. For drinks, it’s definitely fun and worth a visit.
- Town Pizza. Three words: COLD CHEESE SLICE. I have been raving about this to everyone and even posted it on my Instagram the other day, despite the backlash I received from a bunch of angry upstate New Yorkers. Evidently this is something they’ve been doing for decades, and I made the mistake of calling it a Fire Island original. Here’s the concept: put fresh, cold mozzarella cheese on top of a hot slice. Why? Because it’s like sex but better? The idea is to prevent the roof of your mouth from getting burned by the hot cheese. GENIUS MUCH?! It’s also just a lovely texture play for your tastebuds. The cold/hot combo is delish.
- Baywalk Cafe. Other than the lack of AC in here, I have to say I really enjoyed my acai bowl. It was the ABC Acai Bowl with almond butter, bananas, coconut, and cacao nibs. Get it? There’s your ABC. The Evergreen Bowl was not nearly as tasty, but all it was missing was a sweetener – maybe some honey would have done the trick. Also a good spot for salads and sandwiches.
More photos from the trip (it’s a slideshow):