by Christopher Bain
There has never been a shortage of seafood restaurants in Port Washington, from Bradley’s to Gildo’s to Jimmy’s Backyard to Louie’s to Aqua Manor to Augie’s to The Barge and many others. You could have seafood every night for a week at a different restaurant every night! And on any such list, we have to include The Miramar Restaurant, boasting its French & Italian Cuisine and “The home of the famous Scampi”. Some say it was the best scampi in town! Want the recipe? We have it…. but I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even asked you a favor yet.
The Miramar was directly across from the Mill Pond, built on dock pilings, since it hung over the water at high tide. The beautiful postcard above, in the collection of the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, is probably from the late 40’s early 50’s. Below is a shot from the 1950’s, taken with a telephoto lens from the Town Dock, showing the pilings that held the restaurant above the tide:
So what else do we know about the Miramar? Let’s take a look at their matchbook, inside & out:
I don’t know about you, but the first thing that strikes me :) is the phone number! “PHONE 1829”. No “Port Washington 7” prefix yet, otherwise known as "PO-7", later modernized to “767”. Next is the long list of delicacies listed on the inside of the matchbook cover, in spite of the torn portion at the top. And how about that line about “Under Same Management” as opposed to “Under New Management”. They were obviously proud of their long standing reputation.
So here’s my problem. I don’t know much more about the Miramar. We didn’t go out to restaurants much when I was a kid in Port, so I went the local history section at the Library, looked under restaurants, and found lots of information about other establishments, but nothing on the Miramar. So let’s fix that. Together. Two more photos and I’ll tell you how.:
Here’s a shot taken from the Dodge Homestead, looking across the Mill Pond in the early 1960’s, with the Miramar in the distance
Here’s a shot taken right in front of the Miramar, looking across the street at the Mill Pond
And finally, here’s a shot looking across the Mill Pond itself, toward Smull Place (named after local builder Lorenzo Smull), with another interesting building up on the hill (now the Happy Montesori School) a story for another day.
This all leads me to the Scampi recipe, Facebook, and a wonderful concept called crowd-sourcing.
So here is where crowd sourcing comes in: Those of you who grew up in Port Washington (once upon a time called Cow Neck), those who remember the Miramar, those with any stories of the Miramar such as who owned it, when was it built, what was your favorite desert, when did it burn down, etc. Please visit our Facebook page where this View of the Month also lives and chime in with actual stories. Let’s collect the information, and I, as a representative of the local historical society, will compile this information, print it out, present it to the Library for inclusion in the “Restaurants” folder in the local history filing cabinets. One empty slot plugged. It’s a start.
Oh, and the Scampi recipe? Well one of our trustees who will remain nameless (Marla), it seems that her parents used to shop at the fish market across from the train station, and asked the proprietor for a good shrimp scampi receipe. He said that he had the best recipe for shrimp scampi, straight from chef at the Miramar. It’s a killer recipe, which we have. If you’d like it, just drop us a note, along with your membership to the historical society at CNPHS, 336 Port Washington Blvd, PW, NY 11050…
What, you thought we were giving stuff away? We’re a little non-profit! Are you already a member? Drop us a note with a contribution of whatever you can afford, and the recipe very well may be yours. Or go to the website (www.cowneck.org) and make an e-donation. We will truly apprecaite it.
Don’t forget to leave your Miramar stories on our Facebook page.