Dec. 20, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
A New York City-based barbecue chain is planning on opening an Astoria location, and has scooped up the recently shuttered Studio Square space for its expansion.
Pig Beach, a rustic barbecue-and-beer concept with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, will take up the 30,000 square foot venue at 35-33 36th St., and went before Community Board 1 on Dec. 18 seeking approval for its liquor license application.
While the board approved the application by a vote of 26 to 9, the owners still faced a series of questions and concerns mainly prompted by Studio Square’s history involving complaints from area residents.
The prior business had received a litany of complaints in its near decade-long run including disruptive noise levels during evening and early morning hours, public urination and crowds of disorderly and intoxicated people near the site.
In 2018 alone, from January to October, around 60 calls to 311 were placed, along with 16 calls to 911, regarding the premises.
But Shane McBride and Gary Kravetz, the business partners behind Pig Beach, told the board that their vision calls for an experience in stark contrast to Studio Square’s.
McBride, one of the head chefs of Pig Beach and an Astoria resident himself, said the 36th Street location would be “a true bbq restaurant in every sense of the word.”
“It’s very much a family affair,” he said to the board.
The first Pig Beach location opened in Gowanus in 2015, with the Manhattan concept, Pig Bleeker, opening in 2017.
But the idea for the barbecue joint goes back roughly ten years ago, when Pig Beach’s founders, originally part of competitive barbecue teams, first met and placed highly in the World Championship Barbecue Competition in Memphis.
Some of the restaurant’s standout dishes include baby back ribs with “competition style” brown sugar and sticky honey glaze, and pork shoulder drizzled with hatch vinegar sauce and made with a signature rub.
At the Astoria venue, the owners plan on occupying the first floor and outdoor garden space—the same footprint as Studio Square—with the basement reserved for storage uses.
The location will seat about 400 people, and the owners plan on filling all available space with seating, though they said the venue can fit a whopping 1,700 people without it.
Live music will also be part of the Pig Beach experience, with bands, DJs and background music to play at the establishment.
Stavisnky, however, said that an acoustic engineer will be evaluating the space to determine sound limits and perhaps find ways to further reduce potential disturbance to nearby residences.
The owners also told the board that unlike Studio Square, the site will not host promoter buyouts, but will accept events like weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs and other family functions.
The board approval for the liquor license came after the business submitted a letter of support from the community board covering Gowanus, home to one of their restaurants, and after agreeing to stipulations like closing the outdoor space no later than midnight on some weeknights and providing a contact person for area residents in case of any complaints.
The date of the new Pig Beach location opening is yet to be determined, but the site will open seven days a week beginning at 11 a.m.
The interior space hours will go to 1 a.m. Monday through Wednesday, with the outdoor space to close at midnight these days. Interior hours will extend to 3 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, with outdoor hours to go until 1 a.m.