Beach 116th Meets The Meat Up Grill

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 It’s time to meet up and eat up on Beach 116th Street. Serving up quality beach bites from burgers to chicken sandwiches, salads and more, The Meat Up Grill is gearing up to open on Friday.

Many got a taste of The Meat Up Grill when it came to Riis Park as a summer pop-up in 2017 and then a seasonal restaurant in 2018 as owner and chef Michael Fiore showed Rockaway just how good beach classics like burgers and fries could be. Now The Meat Up will have a place to call home all year long. The Meat Up Grill, located at 165 Beach 116th Street, is opening on Friday, February 5.

The Meat Up Grill, offering takeout, delivery and indoor dining when permitted, puts a unique spin on beachside favorites. “The Meat Up is a beach concept. It has that beach vibe, and the products are all familiar items to everyone, but done a little different. It’s clean, simple and fun food that puts a smile on everyone’s face,” Fiore said.

Among some of those smile-inducing menu items are the burgers and chicken sandwiches, which can be done in a number of ways. The burgers feature ¼ pound brisket beef patties served on Marty’s potato buns. Maybe go for the classic, The Meat Up, topped with lettuce, onion, pickles and M.U.G. burger sauce, or double it up an add some bacon and cheese for the O.G. Venture out and shoot for the Yay Yo!, a burger topped with provolone, spicy ham, hot cherry peppers, roasted garlic mayo, lettuce, onion and pickles, or the unique PB&J burger, topped with peanut butter from Claudettes, grape jelly, smoked bacon, and yes, pickles, which Fiore says are a must have.

If chicken is more your speed, maybe try the classic Mr. Crunch, a fried chicken sandwich with pickles, lettuce and white barbecue sauce, or maybe spice it up with the Ko Chi Crunch, topped with kimchee BBQ, slaw, gochujang, mayo and house pickles. Try a unique spin on a classic with the Ultimate Truffle Grilled Cheese featuring fontina, gruyere and truffle-honey drizzle on Texas toast. Pair it with fries, onion rings, mac and cheese or go all out with the chipwreck—loaded fries packed with bacon, French onion sauce, scallions and cotija cheese, and you will be full all day. But if you prefer something on the lighter side, Fiore has that too, with a selection of salads and bowls. No matter what your appetite, the Meat Up has something for all. “I think we’ve put together a menu that’s well-founded for everyone,” Fiore said.

Michael Fiore, who’s been a Rockaway resident for as long as he’s been behind the kitchen, knows what it takes to make good food. He brings with him 30 years of experience, including partnering with celebrity caterer Mary Giuliani and owning former restaurant Tempo in Park Slope. A few years ago, Fiore got a taste of what it means to serve his community at Riis Park and the experience gave him the green light that it was time to open a more permanent spot. At the beginning of the year, he started scoping out locations and was originally going to open on Restaurant Row in Rockaway Beach, but as the pandemic hit, delays forced a change of plans. But lucky for Fiore, when one door closed, another opened, and he found a location a bit closer to the beach on Beach 116th Street.

The coronavirus pandemic may have changed some plans, but it didn’t deter Fiore from going full steam ahead on a brick-and-mortar shop, with the main premise of his business model being takeout. And in that time, he also found time to make the pandemic a little easier on others. In the early months of the pandemic, Fiore launched Soup 4 Support under The Meat Up Grill, raising money to deliver soups to frontline responders and healthcare professionally throughout New York City. Making the soups out of his catering kitchen in Sunnyside, Fiore was able to deliver more than 8,000 soups to those on the frontlines. When the pandemic started to slow down, Fiore got to work on his next steps. After finding the perfect location, the build out began in August and Fiore spent four months transforming what was Georgina’s Bakery, into the home of The Meat Up Grill.

The new location offers an inviting, casual feel that makes you feel like you’re in your home kitchen. With light painted brickwork, floral centerpieces on wooden tables, cookbooks on the shelves and a giant Rockaway Beach mural painted by artist Geoff Rawling, The Meat Up gives that hometown vibe, and with great customer service and a menu that you’ll be craving. It's a welcome new addition that will quickly become a community staple—again.

Some got a sneak peek with a family and friends opening last weekend, and locals who have turned to The Meat Up for their holiday catering needs already know what’s in store. In addition to the regular menu, Fiore will have specials, and his catering menus for holidays and everyday catering, will also be available.

Fiore is looking forward to opening his doors for all to experience it. “It’s very exciting. This is something I’ve always wanted to do out here for many years. The Meat Up has recognition and a good identity and the feedback I’ve been getting has been so positive,” Fiore said. “I’m thrilled to finally open.”

After The Meat Up Grill opens on Friday, Fiore expects to be open Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and may expand weekend hours to offer brunch and open seven days a week in the future. BYOB will also be permitted. For a full menu and online ordering, head to www.TheMeatUpGrill.com  or call 518-712-1361 to order.

 By Katie McFadden

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