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The best summer food on Long Island: Iconic eats you need to try

Craving the foods of summer cannot be controlled. At least not by our food staff, which came up with this bucket list of foods that cry out to be hunted down as the mercury rises. From Long Island’s juiciest fried chicken to the plumpest lobster roll, the quest is on.

Lobster roll at Clam Bar

There are plenty of lobster rolls to enjoy
Photo Credit: Ellen Watson

There are plenty of lobster rolls to enjoy on Long Island. One of the top lobster-salad productions is served at this outdoor establishment along the Napeague stretch between Amagansett and Montauk. Meaty, refreshing, well-seasoned, they are irresistible on a sunny day or a balmy summer evening. Just in case, you can order a whole, steamed lobster, too. Market prices prevail. More info: 2025 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett; 631-267-6348, clambaronline.com

Ice cream at Snowflake

Stu Feldschuh's pursuit of ice-cream perfection will make
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Stu Feldschuh’s pursuit of ice-cream perfection will make you an instant regular at this landmark stand. It’s the essential destination for devotees of soft-serve, scoops, sundaes, cones and intensely fresh flavors. During peach season, pick a fresh peach sundae; when strawberries are ripe, select a strawberry sundae. Snowflake’s flavor-of-the-week always is creative and fun, from cannoli to evoke Little Italy to “Car 54” with coffee and doughnuts. The regulars include the nostalgia of classic maple walnut and butter pecan, super black raspberry, dual-hue Creamsicle, terrific banana split and grand French vanilla. Be sure to buy the glorious brown bonnets and flying saucers — better than any you can remember. More info: 1148 W. Main St., Riverhead; 631-727-4394, snowflakeicecream.com

Cheese steaks at Sid’s All-American

Philly Cheesesteaks made with American white cheese, onions
Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

With its glass front and back-sloping roof, Sid’s All-American retains the bones of the Carvel it originally was. There are a few stools inside, but most customers dine at the bright-red picnic tables outside. Bucking tradition, Sid’s uses sirloin (instead of the more traditional rib-eye or eye-of-round), which makes for a more tender sandwich. The kitchen also makes its own cheese sauce (as opposed to using Cheez Whiz), although most customers opt for mozzarella, pepper jack, Swiss or white American cheese. The cheesesteak, $9.25, comes with cheese. Onions or peppers are 75 cents extra, bacon is $1.75. More info: 80 Glen Cove Ave., Glen Cove; 516-200-9071, sidsallamerican.com

Local oysters at Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market

Oysters, knives, protective gloves and hot sauce are
Photo Credit: Aaron Zebrook

The North Fork is Long Island's U-pick capital; now it boasts the Island's first U-shuck. At Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market, you are supplied with a kit containing a few oyster knives and a knife-proof glove and offered instruction in the art of shucking oysters. Owners Ian Wile and Rosalie Rung also own Little Creek Oyster Farm, which is raising oysters in Hog Neck Bay in Southold. The market features these mollusks, as well as oysters and clams (and pickles, beer and wine) from other local producers. More info: 37 Front St., Greenport; 631-477-6992,  littlecreekoysters.com

Fish tacos at Kingston’s Clam Bar

Head south on almost any street on Suffolk's
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Head south on almost any street on Suffolk’s South Shore and you stand a good chance of encountering a clam bar, just before you encounter Great South Bay. That’s how we stumbled upon Kingston’s Clam Bar in West Sayville years ago. Any LI clam bar will do a fine job with clams on the half shell, but Kingston’s reliable kitchen also makes two fine seafood tacos, one with broiled mahi-mahi and one with blackened shrimp. (Landlubbers can order pulled pork or chicken.) More info: 130 Atlantic Ave., West Sayville; 631-589-0888, kingstonsclam.com

Fried clams at Bigelow’s

Along a distinctly nonmaritime stretch of Sunrise Highway
Photo Credit: Newsday/Rebecca Cooney

Along a distinctly nonmaritime stretch of Sunrise Highway is one of Long Island’s most iconic seafood eateries: Bigelow’s — essentially 30 stools and one long counter curving around a fryolater station — which seems not to have changed since it opened in 1939. The main attraction here is fried seafood — whiting, shrimp, calamari, smelts, oysters, scallops — but the undisputed stars of the show are the fried Ipswich clams, soft-shell and with the bellies still attached. Cash only. More info: 79 N. Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre; 516-678-3878, bigelows-rvc.com

Steamers at Buoy One

Oysters may be Long Island's most glamorous mollusk,
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Oysters may be Long Island’s most glamorous mollusk, but clams are the most ubiquitous and, unlike their finicky cousins, they are always in season. Buoy One, which got its start as a fish market in Riverhead, does a great job with steamed soft-shell clams — familiarly, steamers — serving buckets full of plump, briny bivalves with clam broth for swishing and melted butter for dipping (and running down your chin). The Westhampton location has been newly renovated and is more comfortable, but the original Riverhead location has the advantage of having Snowflake Ice Cream Shoppe right across the street. More info: 1175 W. Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-9737; and 62 Montauk Hwy., Westhampton, 631-998-3808, buoyone.com

Italian Ices at Bonanza’s

Bonanza's Italian ice stand opened in Oyster Bay
Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

Bonanza’s Italian ice stand opened in Oyster Bay around the time Teddy Roosevelt, the town’s most famous resident (sorry, Billy Joel), was elected president. More than a century later, it’s a summer ritual to grab an ice at Bonanza’s, head across the street to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and admire Oyster Bay Harbor. (Squint and you can see Billy Joel’s spread on Centre Island.) The ices — simultaneously creamy and refreshing — are still made in small batches, and flavors range from classics (chocolate and matchless lemon) to newfangled (chocolate Oreo, cotton candy). If you require a savory accompaniment, there are hot dogs, too. (Pictured: cake batter, green mint chip, watermelon, mango and blue raspberry). More info: 25 Shore Ave., Oyster Bay; 516-922-7796, bonanzastandofoysterbay.com

Hot dogs and beer at Plattduetsche Park

ompah makers Oktoberfest is in the air and
Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

One of the few remaining spots for German cuisine, the biergarten and the restaurant of Plattduetsche Park are a treat for anyone devoted to sausages and brews. It’s an essential stop for frankfurters, bratwurst, smoky krainerwurst, mild bockwurst, zesty currywurst, fine knackwurst, even Cajun-style andouille. The mini-pretzel sliders with sliced bratwurst, Swiss cheese and bacon are addictive. And sample them with German potato salad, potato pancakes and spaetzle. Go with whatever brew is on tap. Pictured, frankfurters on a traditional German pretzel bun, with sauerkraut, mild mustard and curry ketchup, with imported beers waiting in the wings. More info: 1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square; 516-354-3131, parkrestaurant.com

Double cheeseburger at All-American Hamburger Drive-in

For a side of nostalgia, there's Long Island's
Photo Credit: Allison Davis O'Keefe

For a side of nostalgia, there’s Long Island’s oldest drive-in, a required stop for a double cheeseburger after a baseball game or a day at the beach. Thin patties, a sheath of cheese and a pillowy bun make for a straightforward favorite. Order it with a side of onion rings, fries or a knish. Or save room for dessert, a scoop of soft-serve from Marshall’s Ice Cream Bar, next door. (Pictured: A double cheeseburger,  large fries and chocolate shake. 4286 Merrick Rd., Massapequa; 516-798-9574, allamericanhamburgerli.com

Fried chicken at Swingbellys

Fried chicken served with sides of collards, fries,
Photo Credit: Juan Cristobal Cobo

Juicy fried chicken with perfectly crisp skin, salt-and-pepper seasoned, served with a side of hot sauce vinegar to rev up the acid factor. Tuesday is fried chicken night at Swingbellys in Long Beach, which makes it as good a time as any to eat at the beach. For $16, you’ll get a four-piece chicken dinner, mac-and-cheese, smokehouse beans or collards and a BLT salad. Just as good cold; pick up an extra for tomorrow’s lunch. More info: 909 W. Beech St., Long Beach; 516-431-3464, swingbellysbbq.com

Oysters at Walls Wharf

You'll be sitting by the beach when you're
Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

You’ll be at the beach when you’re dining at Walls Wharf, which has been serving summery pleasures for more than 60 years. While you can enjoy steamed or broiled lobster, steamers, stuffed clams and the like, consider oysters. They offer East Coast and West Coast varieties. Compare Wellfleet and Hood Canal contributions to the seasonal bounty. The spectacular sunsets are a bonus. Or chill under an umbrella at lunch. More info: 18 Greenwich Ave., Bayville; 516-628-9696, wallswharf.com

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