One of the most well-known—and enduring—restaurants in the Massapequas is located right on a busy corner, but don’t let its location sway you. The Corner Galley, located at 5411 Merrick Rd., is an establishment popular among locals for its classic American cuisine, nautical theme and cozy, inviting atmosphere.
Co-owner Gerry Stanbrough grew up in Massapequa, but now calls Amityville home. He’s been working at the Corner Galley since the first day it opened under that name in 1986, although at the time he started, he never dreamed that he would actually own the business himself.
The Corner Galley itself has a long history in the community. Originally opening as a tavern in the 1970s, it went through a number of names, including Bloke’s Three, Friars and Coach’s Fore. However, the owner of Coach’s Fore eventually decided it was time for a change, Stanbrough said.
“They redesigned the dining room, cut the bar in half and added food to the menu,” he said. “In 1986, the Corner Galley was born.”
Russell Barrie, also co-owner of the Corner Galley, is a lifelong Massapequa resident who grew up right across the street in Nassau Shores and also started at the Corner Galley on opening day. A childhood friend of Stanbrough’s, Barrie said that the two had worked together previously at a restaurant in Massapequa Park.
“We both worked in a restaurant on Park Boulevard called The Bunnery when we were 20 years old,” he said. “We started cooking there, and then Gerry started tending bar after a little while. Later, we went to the Corner Galley when we were 26…Gerry was tending bar and I’ve been the chef here since day one.”
Stanbrough and Barrie worked there steadfastly for 17 years until 2004, when the duo purchased the establishment from owner, Frank Petruccelli, who was looking to retire.
“He had been in the business for 30 years and was tired and looking to take it easy,” Stanbrough said. “It was good business, so we bought it. Business was great for a while afterwards. When the economy started going south, things got tougher, but we’ve been hanging in there.”
Stanbrough noted that the Corner Galley sticks to the basics when it comes to their menu and works hard to get them just right. It’s this dedication to their ideals that has earned them a very loyal clientele over the years.
“It’s a nice, friendly atmosphere and we have a lot of regular customers…it’s a good neighborhood place that specializes in seafood, sandwiches, burgers, soups and great, top-of-the-line Black Angus steaks,” he said. “We offer good value and great pub-style food. There’s free salad, soda and a pitcher of beer or wine with every meal, and we get a lot of families who come here several times a month.”
To drive home the point of their business having close ties in the neighborhood, Barrie noted that in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Corner Galley temporarily became something of a central hub for the surrounding community when the majority of them were without electricity.
“We lost power, but we got a generator hooked up and opened up…the neighborhood was very happy about that, as many of their homes were without power and flooded,” he said. “It gave them a place to come and feel normal again for a little while. We were able to offer them a place to eat, drink, have some coffee, watch TV and charge their cell phones.”
The restaurant also gives back to the community that has supported it all of these years. Stanbrough said that they have made donations to The Wounded Warrior Project, the construction of the 9/11 Freedom Tower located in John J. Burns Park, and many other worthy projects.
After all these years, the Corner Galley’s two owners still find themselves doing the same tasks they did back when they first started there as employees; Stanbrough is often found tending bar and chatting up the patrons, and Barrie is hard at work in the kitchen. It’s something they still enjoy, and they’re more than happy to continue to do it for the public that has been so supportive over the years.
“We’ve been here a long time, and we have a lot of nice, loyal customers. Plus we’ve been seeing a lot of new customers coming in recently due to word-of-mouth, so we’re very happy about that,” he said. “My goal every day is to make sure that no customer leaves here unhappy, so I’m out on the floor working and keeping an eye on things. We love our customers, we thank them and we’re glad that they’re here.”
To find out more about the Corner Galley, visit www.cornergalley.net.