the original NP times article. hmmm...
Clintondale's Hollywood Bar finds new life as Gunks Haus
The Hollywood Bar is going from Jamaican dance hall to German beer hall. Owners Dirk Schalle
and Elizabeth Steckel plan to turn the former Jamaican restaurant, bar and dance club on South Street in
Clintondale into a German restaurant and biergarten named the "Gunks Haus."
The couple purchased the building from the family of Frederico "Freddie" Elliot, who presided
over the Hollywood Bar during its decades-long incarnation as a restaurant and bar for Jamaican
agricultural workers and other devotees of island culture. The Hollywood served fried chicken, rice and
peas and Red Stripe, and featured a huge DJ booth with an unparalleled vinyl collection of over 500 reggae
"It was amazing — outside full, inside full. The people were happy and on good behavior," said
Frederick "Sugar" Graham, a Jamaican-born former patron.
The original Greek revival-style estate was built in the 1830s. It became a boarding house in the
1870s when Clintondale was a popular New Yorker vacation spot. In the 1930s, the Sevillo family turned
the building into Hollywood Bar and Grill, serving 10-cent spaghetti dinners to neighborhood diners.
Most people estimate that Freddie bought the property in the late 1960s. The rest is local history.
Since closing on the sale in October 2007, Schalle and Steckel have been at work personally
refurbishing the building while living upstairs. Reinstalling, re-insulating and refurbishing every inch, the
couple have acquainted themselves firsthand with the history of the house.
"We got to know every single inch of the old girl. Since we've been renovating, we've found no
drugs, no dead bodies ... and about two dozen machetes," said Steckel.
"It was a happening place in its time," said Schalle.
They planned to open for long-passed Labor Day 2008. The new hope is sometime in Spring
When doors do open, patrons can expect traditional German cooking — with a twist, said Schalle.
Steckel, who attended the Culinary Institute of America and put herself through additional schooling by
cooking, will act as chef, preparing a seasonal menu with local and free-range ingredients.
Ultimately, she hopes to grow her own crops, like asparagus and hops, in a garden across the
Schalle, fr om Germany, will be the host and biermeister, presiding over an expanded bar with a
22-tap capacity and a refrigerator featuring 40-60 additional beers in the bottle. Beers will be grouped by
style, to make the beer list more accessible to newcomers.
"We'll have Red Stripe and Peroni on tap to honor the Jamaicans and the Italians," said Schalle.
"It's a good legacy."
The multiple-room eatery will encourage accessibility and communal dining. A Dutch door will
enable diners to peek in on the kitchen on their way to the bar or stammtisch, a table seating 8-10 reserved
for regular diners (To buy a round for the table, just ring the overhead bell). Another room will feature two
large communal tables, booths and a long European banquet. A st
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