Tags Posts tagged with "The Good Steer"

The Good Steer

Ukrainian flag. Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

As we round out the second week of December, I’d like to offer some suggestions for a 2022 time capsule.

A Ukrainian flag. Ukraine, with help from Americans and many other nations, has fended off Russia’s ongoing military assault. The question for 2023 will be whether they can continue to defend the country amid a potential decline in international support.

A waterlogged dollar. With inflation at decades-high levels, the dollar isn’t buying as much as it had been.

Florida man makes announcement. I would include a copy of the New York Post front page the day after former president Donald Trump, to no one’s surprise, announced he would be running for president in 2024. A previous ardent supporter of the former president, the Post may be leading the charge in another political direction to find a new standard bearer for the GOP.

A red dot. Certainly, the Republicans taking over the majority in the house will have important consequences, with numerous investigations and a divided government on the horizon, but Republicans didn’t win as many national elections as anticipated.

A miniature replica of the Supreme Court, with the words Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in front of it. The Supreme Court case, which reversed the Roe v. Wade decision, removed the federal right to an abortion, enabling states to pass new laws and contributing, in part, to smaller midterm wins for Republicans.

On the much smaller personal front:

Throat lozenges. I got COVID-19 for the first time this year and my throat was so painful for a week that I couldn’t talk. The lozenges didn’t work, but they would highlight numerous efforts to reduce pain from a virus that was worse than any flu I’ve ever had.

The number 62. This, yet again, wasn’t the year the New York Yankees won the World Series. Nope, they didn’t even get there, yet again falling, this time without winning a single game, to the Houston Astros. It was, however, a wonderful chase for the American League home run record by Aaron Judge, who just signed a $360 million extension with the Yankees.

Wedding bells and a tiny nerf football. For the first time in years, my wife and I attended two family weddings this year. We loved the chance to dance, catch up with relatives, eat great food, and run across a college baseball field with a $7 nerf football we purchased from the hotel lobby store.

A miniature swamp boat. On one of the more memorable trips to New Orleans to visit our son, my wife and I saw numerous alligators and heard memorable Louisiana tales from Reggie Domangue, whose anecdotes and personal style became the model for the firefly in the Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog.”

A shark tooth. During the summer, Long Islanders worried about local sharks, who bit several area swimmers. The apex predator, which is always in the area, likely had higher numbers amid a recovery in the numbers of their prey, which are menhaden, also known as bunker fish and, despite the prevalence of the music from the movie “Jaws,” does not include humans.

A Good Steer napkin. My favorite restaurant from my childhood closed after 65 years, leaving behind an onion ring void and shuttering the backdrop to numerous happy family outings. If I had a way to retire expressions the way baseball teams  retire numbers, I would retire the words “Burger Supreme” on a food version of Monument Park.

A giant question mark. Scientists throughout Long Island (and the world )constantly ask important questions. Some researchers will invent technology we may use all day long, like cell phones. Others may make discoveries that lead to life-saving drugs. Let’s celebrate great questions.

Pumpkin Pie. METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Here comes my favorite weekend of the year: Thanksgiving. It starts on a Thursday, as all good weekends should. We, the Dunaief Clan, have managed to extend it into three, even four days. We deserve no less. Like many American families, our immediate members are stretched across the entire continent, from the California coast to the middle of Suffolk County on Long Island, and from below the Mason-Dixon Line and the Florida Peninsula to the Gulf of Mexico. They need that much time just to get to Grandma’s house and back.

What’s waiting for them when they arrive? Food! All kinds of favorite foods. And love. Lots of love that bridges three generations with mighty hugs. Why, it even takes a good part of that long weekend before all the members of the family finish hugging each other, at which point we sit down to eat. We get back up some hours later, only to regroup for the next meal. We know we are among the fortunate in that regard and give thanks.

Food means so many different things. There are the traditional historic dishes that symbolize the meal eaten by the Pilgrims. But we have added so much more to the basics. And each person has a favorite that tickles them when they look at the offerings on the laden table and know it was prepared especially for them. Food is love, and special foods carry that message.

It still amazes me to be surrounded by the many members of my tribe. Almost 60 years ago, before I was married, there was just me. Then, three months later, there were the two of us, my husband and I. Now there are children and children-in-law, and their children and eventually, their children-in-law. Together we populate the dining room and fill the house with chatter and laughter.

One of the high points of the weekend follows Thanksgiving dinner, when we are still sitting around the table, digesting sufficiently until we can have dessert, and we tell each other what we are most thankful for that occurred in the past year. In that way, I get to catch up on some of the events in my loved ones’ lives, and they on mine.

Speaking of dessert, the pumpkin pies will be an issue this year. For all the Thanksgivings we have celebrated here, 53 to be exact, we have enjoyed the classic finale from The Good Steer. Their pies pleased all our taste buds, from my children to my parents, who would join us from the city during those early years. Alas, The Good Steer on Middle Country Road in Lake Grove is no more, the family having closed the business. 

So, faced with this significant void, I have done some research and have come up with replacements. Whether they will be acceptable remains a sensitive question. I’ve had a number of friends offer suggestions, and I thank them kindly because they understand how important it is to find an alternative source. After all, no two differently-made pumpkin pies taste the same. The result here hangs in the balance until Thursday eve. Keep your fingers crossed for me, as my reputation as the Best Thanksgiving Grandma depends on this important outcome.

Actually I have a monopoly on the title. Thanksgiving is always celebrated at our house. My in-law children know and accept that arrangement because I trade Thanksgiving for Christmas. That seems to work for everyone in the family.

This year, we have a special event to celebrate. My oldest grandson has asked the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with to marry him, and she has accepted. We will welcome her enthusiastically, and I will give thanks for the blessing of seeing our family continue to grow.

Wishing you all, Dear Readers, a Happy Thanksgiving with the foods you enjoy and the people you love, whether they be relatives or close friends or perhaps those you recently met and have chosen to share this celebratory meal. 

On this day, we are reminded that we are all Americans together.

A chef's hat and a candle are two of the items being auctioned off.
One of two Good Steer wall signs being auctioned off.

Here’s your chance to own a unique part of Long Island history. Trading Post Estate Sales is currently holding an online auction, The Good Steer: Saying Goodbye to a Legend, through Oct. 1 at 8:15 p.m. Many contents of the Lake Grove restaurant, which closed its doors in July after 65 years in business, are for sale to the highest bidder (over 170 items) and include pictures, knick-knacks, chairs, kitchen equipment, toy cars and holiday items.

Click here to view the items.

For more information, visit www.auctionninja.com.


By Heidi Sutton

The Good Steer sign

The iconic neon steer sign has gone dark. A fixture in the community since 1957, the Lake Grove family restaurant The Good Steer closed its doors after service on July 9. The announcement was made on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Owned and operated by the McCarroll family for 65 years, the restaurant located at 2810 Middle Country Road was famous for its  hamburgers, onion rings and rustic atmosphere.

“As they say, All Good Things must come to an end,” read the post. “We have truly enjoyed serving you for these past 7 decades but it is time for us to end this story.” 

Owner Robert McCarroll said it wasn’t an easy decision for the family to make and cited not being able to keep up with rising costs and a decline in customers as the reasons for closing.

Reaction to the news ranged from shock to sadness to gratitude with many past customers sharing their memories of visiting the restaurant over the years and wishing the McCarroll family the best.

“We will miss you all,” the post continued, “We will miss sharing the occasions, celebrations, and milestones of your lives and those of your families and friends that you chose to mark with a visit and a meal at The Good Steer. Our guests are more than just customers, they’ve been family to us, and we so very much appreciate that.”

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Panic, which started in my stomach and had seeped so deep into the sinews of my fingers that I could barely write my own name, was overcoming me.

I was staring at the problem, knowing that I could do it if I calmed down, but also fearing that the answer wouldn’t come in time.

I had studied this type of organic chemistry problem for weeks, had attended every extra help session Randy, my teaching assistant and the head teaching fellow for the class, gave, including several late in the evening on Sunday nights.

If I froze up for too long, I ran the risk of not finishing that problem or the test. I couldn’t come up with a solution, and I couldn’t move on.

Then, it hit me. No, it wasn’t the solution. It was Randy’s overwhelming cologne. My teaching fellow was walking up and down the rows of the testing site, making sure no one was cheating, while responding to requests to go to the bathroom.

Something about his cologne brought me back to one of the many study sessions, helping me break the mental logjam in my head and sending me toward the solution that was right under my nose.

As we enter the 11th month of this pandemic, we can see and hear many of the cues we would get if we were continuing to live the lives we took for granted, but we are much more limited in what we can smell, especially if we are sticking with federal guidelines and staying put.

So, what smells do I miss the most?

While I enjoy visiting Long Island beaches in the summer, when the trio of hazy, hot and humid hovers in the air, I particularly appreciate the cold, salt spray of a winter beach, when the scent of crispy and frozen seaweed blends with air that seems to have brought hints of its cold journey across the ocean.

Then, of course, there is the missing smell of the kinds of foods that aren’t in our own kitchens or right next door. One of my favorite restaurants, the Good Steer sends out the scent of their onion rings in every direction around the building, calling to me and recalling my youth when my late father would watch happily as all three of his sons consumed our double order of onion rings, alongside our burger supremes.

While all ice might seem to smell the same, the scent of Alaska’s glaciers brings a frozen crispness to an inhospitable climate. Marveling at the ice around a cruise my wife and I took over two decades ago, I inhaled the cool fresh scent of frozen water.

Then there’s the food from all over the world. The enticing smells of freshly baked baguettes and fruity macarons in Parisian patisseries, the welcoming scent of fish caught earlier that day on Hawaiian beaches or the symphony of smells from places like Faneuil Hall, where Boston accents form the acoustic backdrop for the smell of flowers, steaks, and baked beans.

With spring just a month away, I turn to thoughts of baseball and Yankee Stadium. Yes, of course, numerous odors throughout the stadium — from other fans who could use some of Randy’s cologne to restrooms that don’t smell like a rose garden — aren’t the first things that come to mind. I’m talking about the smell of the grass and the dirt after the grounds crew waters it. That baseball field scent conjures infinite possibilities, from triple plays to triples off the wall, from immaculate innings to grass-stained catches. The smell of hot dogs and soft buns entice us as vendors march up and down the stairs nearby.

These days, we can see and hear people through FaceTime calls, but we can’t smell them. That person might love orange Tic Tacs, tuna fish sandwiches, fresh roasted coffee or any of a host of other scents — cinnamon rolls, perhaps —that define her the same way the light highlights a crooked-toothed smile. We might find Tic Tacs that remind us of them, but, without the combination of scents, including their laundry detergent, their soap or their conditioner, or their physical presence, we are missing that olfactory connection.