A pan roast of lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, potatoes and...

A pan roast of lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn in a creamy tarragon-fennel broth at Waterzooi in Port Washington. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

While Garden City’s Waterzooi is 25 years old and going strong, its Port Washington offspring served its last mussel on Sunday night, closing after three years.

“The weekend was crazy,” said Ed Davis, a partner in the enterprise with Chris Werle and Jeffrey Piciullo. The three men also own Novitá in Garden City and Croxley’s Ale House, with branches in Farmingdale, Franklin Square and Rockville Centre.

Davis said they spent two years getting the paperwork needed to turn the former Wells Fargo Bank at the corner of Port Washington Boulevard and Main Street into a restaurant. Then there was a year of construction, during which the bank was transformed into a 168-seat restaurant with gleaming tile work and vintage light fixtures that lent it a movie-set glamour. It finally opened in February 2020. A month later: pandemic. “It was not an easy time,” he said.

According to Davis, the owners were recently approached by another Long Island restaurant group that was interested in opening in Port Washington. “First they were just picking our brains about the town,” he said. “Then they made us an offer — an offer we couldn’t refuse — and the deal came together quickly.”

Besides the five other restaurants, the Waterzooi team has erected a new building in Farmingdale, adjacent to Croxley’s, that will house a wood-fired pizzeria and two event spaces. Davis hopes to open in early 2024.

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