Mouth-watering burgers, open mics and horseshoes at new Staten Island saloon and eatery (2024)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Peaco*cks honk and scream on the Seguine-Burke Mansion property in Prince’s Bay. Just across the street at Jen’s Rock House Bar and Grill, there’s a different kind noise — burger sizzle from the kitchen and rock music from the bar.

On Wednesday nights, when a guest gig or patron takes the mic their song rings out from this sleepy stretch on the South Shore.

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Jen Padilla’s bar and grill lives between Staten Island University Hospital South and up the block from a small marina. As a 23-year veteran of the Big Apple saloon scene, Padilla has fans who have followed her to this out-of-the-way destination born in the spring.

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Padilla’s restaurant has a horseshoe court set up on a well-manicured lawn in the rear for Monday night leagues. There also are patio chairs and a picnic table to catch a briny breeze, al fresco style.

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And from this setup, plus an easy-going pace inside at the bar, one would hardly think this were a predictable scene in New York City.

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But it is. Although one never knows what kind of talent will open up during those mid-week open mic sessions that start at 7:30 p.m.

“We squeeze everybody in. It usually goes on to 11 p.m.,” said the red-headed saloonkeeper.

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In fact, there are a few songs that ring out loud and proud. Padilla said among them were Toby Keith’s “I Love this Bar” and “The House is Rockin“ of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble fame.

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Candied bacon and cold beer

Padilla wants to be clear: this is not a karaoke joint — no TV prompts, no bubble gum pop — just real people singing good songs by heart and from the heart. The Wednesday night musicians deserve props, too. Talented men and women play keyboard, drums, base and guitar.

Padilla said, “People sing everything. They sing a lot of 90s stuff, too — Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Stevie Knicks...They sing it all.”

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Jen’s Rock House takes the food seriously, too, serving exactly what Padilla would want to see on a bar menu — like hot dogs served grilled or coated and deep-fried. These can come with Jen’s very own candied bacon, a condiment used like ketchup reserved for select items.

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With daily happy hour from noon to 7 p.m. eats include corn fritters, chicken fingers, a soft pretzel with beer cheese, fried pickles and loaded beef nachos called “Panic at the Disco.”

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That moniker, “Panic at the Disco,” however, might be more fitting for a Bloody Mary served only on Sundays. It includes samples of all the aforementioned items — plus a crispy bacon strip and beef slider with bun — served in a pint glass for $40. It weighs about eight pounds and packs a vodka punch.

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Every day, lunch is available for $12 and under — grilled cheese with tomato soup, biscuits ‘n’ sausage gravy, classic BLT, onion rings or a potato ‘n’ egg hero. Hand-cut fries and other finger foods run from $5 to $7.

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Burger building

The burger, however, is where the “rizz” is, so to speak.

A hand-packed, roughly 10-ounce patty comes topped with peanut butter, banana chipotle sauce and bacon (Elvis Burger); as a Cheeto Mac ‘n’ Cheese; with mashed spuds, peas, carrots and brown gravy (Shepard Pie) or like a pizza served with pepperoni but reimagined on an English Muffin.

For more salubrious eaters, gluten-free peeps and the actual juveniles of the crowd, there are wings, salads, wraps, sandwiches and soft drinks, like a root beer float.

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With Doggie Dining, pooches can chow down on their own menu offered with bottomless water bowls for the lapping.

In that vein, The Rock House will host a fundraiser on Sunday, July 14 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for the canine-centric charity, Victory For The Voiceless. A $10 donation includes spectating a doggie pie-eating contest (pumpkin) and taking in a whole “Christmas in July” vibe.

Jen’s Rock House Bar & Grill can be found at 507 Seguine Ave., Prince’s Bay, 718-554-4027; Therockhouserocks.com. The restaurant delivers food through UberEats and DoorDash.

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Mouth-watering burgers, open mics and horseshoes at new Staten Island saloon and eatery (2024)

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