The Captain's Feast at The Jolly Fisherman in Roslyn.

The Captain's Feast at The Jolly Fisherman in Roslyn. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

The Jolly Fisherman, one of Long Island’s oldest and most iconic restaurants, will close after dinner service on June 25, sunsetting 66 years of serving diners in the historic Roslyn space.

Owners Lori and Steven Scheiner have sold the property to a real estate firm that will, in turn, lease the restaurant to an operator.

“I have loved every minute of it,” said Steven Scheiner, 70, who started working at the restaurant when he was 15. “We are sorry, but we are also happy.”

The closure will mark the end of an era not only for the Scheiner family, which has presided over the institution since 1957, but for Long Island diners. Of the classic, old-school seafood houses that once dotted the local landscape, it was the lone survivor.

Every meal still starts out with a relish tray of chilled carrots, celery and radishes. This is a restaurant where you can get a “captain’s feast” that includes a broiled and stuffed lobster, broiled king crab legs and scallops, fried Ipswich clams and shrimp and Boston scrod. This is a restaurant that has matjes herring on the menu. 

Steve’s grandparents Max and Frances Scheiner, and his father, Fred, bought the Jolly Fisherman in 1957 when it was already three or four years old. Back then, it had 60 seats (it now has 270) but by 1960, the Scheiners saw that “this was going to work” and they expanded the footprint. 

The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House circa 1962.

The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House circa 1962. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

The restaurant’s longevity was due to what Steve called “a confluence of events.” In New York City, the seafood palace was ascendant — Gloucester House and Sea Fare of the Aegean in Manhattan, Gage and Tollner and Lundy’s in Brooklyn — and, he said, “now families began moving out here.” Among the Jewish families that moved to the Roslyn area, “many were no longer kosher, were doing well financially and wanted a place to eat lobster, crab and shrimp.” Another expansion followed in 1970. 

Max and Frances retired in 1966, Fred, in 1988. (He died last year at 95.) Steve and Lori’s own children, she said, “sought careers outside the industry.” 

Over the last 30 years, the couple oversaw some interior renovations; macadamia-nut-crusted salmon and pan-seared Chilean sea bass found their way onto the menu; the demand for sauteed smelts ceased. The business was never easy but since the pandemic, Steve noted, “it’s gotten tougher. The margins have always been slim but the cost of everything has gone up so much.” He’s had some trouble staffing the dining room. “We’ve had some turnover lately — now we only have four workers who have been here for more than 40 years.” 

The next six weeks promise to be bittersweet for the Jolly Fisherman’s owners, staff and patrons. Lori noted that "our customers have been telling us how happy they are for us, and that makes us feel great." Steve said that he will miss "being the master of my domain, walking into the kitchen, into the dining room and knowing that I have earned the respect of my staff and customers." And he added that customers who can't stop in for lunch or dinner can still pick up a loaf of nut bread or a whole banana cream pie to enjoy at home.

The Jolly Fisherman, 25 Main St., Roslyn, 516-621-0055,

Top Stories

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months