Take a Tour of Firehouse Restaurant & Bar in Sound Beach, Opening This Weekend

Ten years from now, someone will walk into the Firehouse Restaurant & Bar in Sound Beach and while looking around at the walls, they will ask about Joey DiBernardo. His legacy, according to his father, will live on in there.

“It was a labor of love,” Joe DiBernardo Sr. said recently at the restaurant, which will be opening its doors this weekend.

After three years of construction, going through the permitting process, and then a monthslong wait for their liquor license, Joe, his wife, Barbara and daughter Carolyn are finally able to swing open their doors.

“It’s been an exhausting process,” he said.

Firehouse Restaurant & Bar serves as a tribute to FDNY Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, who lost his life as a result of injuries he sustained on January 23, 2005 serving in Rescue Company 3 in the Bronx. He and fellow firefighters were trapped in an apartment when fire ripped through a tenement building and they were forced to jump from a four story window. The day became known as Black Sunday because in addition to the tragedy in the Bronx, another firefighter lost his life in a fire on the same day in Brooklyn.

Joey’s sister Carolyn said that it’s bittersweet to finally open.

“I’m just excited we’re finally at this point,” she said. “And it’s a blessing that it also happens to be Easter weekend.”

Her boyfriend Eddie Spagnolo did the design and renovated the entire place. The floors, the walls, the bar, everything is new inside, including ADA accessible bathrooms. Something the DiBernardos insisted on.

Joey was wheelchair-bound for months after the incident and then walked with a cane. Eventually he was able to walk on his own but was always in pain. So they built out the bathrooms to be navigated by wheelchair.

New ADA accessible bathrooms.

Chef Lenny Palmeri, who created the menu, was in the kitchen putting the staff through its paces making sure everything was running smoothly. Mike Goble, another Firehouse Restaurant chef, said it was fitting to be able to work there.

Goble and six friends were in a basement hanging out back in 2006 when there was a gas explosion. He spent the next five weeks in a coma with severe burns. Two of the people he was with died that day.

“There were multiple fire departments who responded to the call who saved my life that day,” recalled Goble. “When I walked in here, it was very fitting.”

Chef Mike Goble and chef Lenny Palmeri, who created the menu at Firehouse Restaurant.

On his tour, the senior DiBernardo pointed out the commemoratives, paintings, and photos that adorn the walls inside Firehouse Restaurant & Bar.

There’s a painting done in the style of Rembrandt’s Night Watch that is a copy of one hanging at the FDNY Fire Academy on Randalls Island. DiBernardo helped arrange the painting by artist Tom Mason, making sure it contained a diverse representation of real fire department personnel including a depiction of his son and himself, standing in for all retired firefighters. All are ready for duty at Engine 343. The painting is a tribute to the sacrifices of FDNY firefighters. Engine 343 is not a real engine company, it honors the 343 firefighters who died on 9/11.

“FDNY Night Tour” by Tom Mason.

There are also photos of Joey in gear, at training, and a number of fire department accents like the fire hydrant painted on the brick wall behind the bar and under one under a table, there’s an old fashioned standing fire alarm in the corner of the dining room, and helmet  medallions from area fire departments given to the restaurant to display.

Most of the memorabilia is from the family’s personal collections.

“Now it’s for everyone to see,” said DiBernardo.

Firehouse Restaurant & Bar at 30 New York Avenue in Sound Beach is opening on March 29th. Scroll down for more photos of the restaurant.

Firehouse Restaurant Menu

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