Photo of the Week: Lundy’s Restaurant

[Lundy's Restaurant], 1961, V1974.4.1678; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

[Lundy’s Restaurant], 1961, V1974.4.1678; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Lundy’s Restaurant in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn has seen its fair share of good and bad times since it opened in 1935. In its heyday, the restaurant reportedly seated over 2,000 patrons. Opened by Irving Lundy, the historic seafood restaurant operated from 1935-1977, and then again from 1997-2007. This photograph depicts the restaurant in 1961 at 1901 Emmons Avenue.

Irving Lundy was born in 1895, the oldest of seven children. Lundy came from a long line of fish sellers, his grandfather and great-uncles owned several fish stores and by the turn of the century, the family had an established reputation as renowned fish sellers. Within a three year span (1917-1920), Lundy’s parents died from illness, and then his brothers, Clayton and Stanley, died tragically in a boating accident.

By 1926, the first Lundy Brothers restaurant was built on stilts over a pier in Sheepshead Bay. The restaurant closed when the city made plans to revitalize the pier and build bulkheads. The restaurant on Emmons Avenue was built across the street and opened in 1935. They served heaping portions of fresh seafood—oysters, lobsters, and clams, as well as biscuits and fresh pies. Robert Cornfield, in his book Lundy’s: Reminiscences and Recipes from Brooklyn’s Legendary Restaurant, notes, “The resort feel of Lundy’s made it a weekend destination for those from other boroughs—there was the abundance of the Shore Dinner, the walk around the bay and across the wooden bridge to the beautifully landscaped streets of Manhattan Beach, the overarching sky over the narrows.”[1]

Despite great success and notoriety, Lundy and his restaurant faced many tragedies over the years: Lundy was kidnapped and robbed on numerous occasions, the restaurant was robbed by gunmen, his sister and brother-in-law were murdered, there were labor protests, and legal issues. Lundy died of a heart attack in 1977 and the restaurant closed shortly after. Two decades later, the restaurant was re-opened under new management, and closed permanently in 2007. Today, Lundy’s Landing Shopping Plaza has replaced the restaurant.

There is so much more to learn and discover about the Lundy family and the restaurant history. Cornfield’s book is an excellent starting place and is available at the Othmer Library. This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photographs collection, which contains over 2,000 photographs documenting nearly every Brooklyn neighborhood from 1957-1974. Additional photographs, including a few more from Lundy’s, can be viewed here.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

[1] Robert Cornfield, Lundy’s: Reminiscences and Recipes from Brooklyn’s Legendary Restaurant (New York, N.Y: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), 48.

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3 Responses to Photo of the Week: Lundy’s Restaurant

  1. John Bamert says:

    My mother is Carol Lundy and Irving Lundy didn’t die of a heart attack. The Mafia wanted the restaurant property and apartments for a long time. Teeth marks were in the pillow were he slept. His body was embalmed by the police before an autopsy was done. Deeds to numerous properties were stolen and our family had to pay them off to avoid lengthy letigation. Also the police took a valuable coin collection and than only gave the family face value

  2. Marc Messenger says:

    My favorite restaurant of all times. There is nothing like the Shore Dinner.

  3. Ed Miranda says:

    The story of the family is worthy of a movie. Political battles with Robert Moses, murder, intrigue. Something with the Butler if I remember.

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