Before the summer comes to a close, head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park for some oysters on the water on Pilot, the floating bar and restaurant docked at Pier 6. Created by Alex and Miles Pincus, the restaurant will be there until October, so enjoy this historic and unique food experience on board a ship with stunning Manhattan views while it’s still in season.
The team behind Pilot are the Pincus brothers, the restauranteur duo and lifelong sailors who are following up their successful floating oyster bar, Grand Banks on the Hudson River, with this new venture on the East River.
For the project, the Pincus brothers restored a 1920s racing schooner and outfitted it with two wraparound bars with stools, a marble oyster bar, a beer and cocktail bar near the stern, with the center of the boat lined with white folding tables. The original chef of Eleven Madison Park, Kerry Heffernan, joins the team once again on Pilot where he serves up plates like lobster rolls, scallop ceviche, and the ship’s signature dish: soft shell crab po’boys.
As big supporters of the Billion Oyster Project, Alex and Miles focus their restaurants’ menus on serving sustainably harvested oysters, and Pilot is no different. If Grand Banks already exists, why then open Pilot? Alex Pincus explained in an interview with Forbes that “we basically took what we did at Grand Banks and tried to find a way to do it better.” The menu options are different, “pushing a little bit harder on the end of New American Brooklyn cuisine, and pushing a little bit harder on some of the influences from the food we grew up on in New Orleans.”
For those of you who were having a hard time getting a table at Grand Banks, Pilot is the second location created to mimic the wonderful Grand Banks experience, only “with a different view, a different boat and a different location.”
As for the schooner itself, the brothers found it “wasting away in a shipyard” and decided to restore it. The historic schooner has a nearly 100 year history, leading many lives as the country’s longest serving pilot ship, a ferry for solider in World War II, was a contender for the title of fastest sailboat in the world, and circumnavigated the world twice as a research vessel.
A meal on Pilot not only becomes a historic experience, but also offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline where you can watch the city’s present day buzz and energy unfold right before you.
If being able to try Pilot and Grand Banks wasn’t enough, the Pincus brothers have also recently opened Island Oyster, a 32,000-square-foot site with a waterfront oyster bar on Governors Island and 100-foot bar. With three locations to try, Alex and Miles have tuned into the unique experiences New Yorkers love so much, giving us a breadth of options from which to enjoy the waning summer days.