Former Cop/Firefighter Opens Civil Servant-Themed Restaurant in Arden Heights

Lauren Steussy, Staten Island Advance

Anthony Sabbatino Photo by Lauren Steussy

Anthony Sabbatino. Photo by Lauren Steussy.

Firefighter Anthony Sabbatino never planned to open his restaurant at such a turbulent time in police-community relations.

The 38-year-old former cop and now-firefighter has joined the owners of The Dugout Pub West, Mike Golding and Andrew Fausi, to open a police, firefighter and other civil servant-themed restaurant in Arden Heights.

Located at 1547 Arthur Kill Road, 10-4 Bar and Grill is adorned with memorabilia from the rescue efforts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and murals celebrating the daily life of firefighters, police officers, EMTs, sanitation workers, military personnel and teachers.

“I was a cop for four years in the 79 Precinct where the two officers (Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu) were shot, and a firefighter in St. George for 13 years,” Sabbatino said. “The camaraderie you see over that amount of years is just incredible.”

Though his restaurant isn’t the answer to the current tensions between the community and the police following the death of Eric Garner, he hopes it will begin to mend those relationships. It’s a place not just for police and firefighters, but anyone who interacts with them, too.

“With everything going on in the city right now, God knows we need it,” he said.

The Timing

Ever since he became a firefighter, Sabbatino dreamed of creating a bar atmosphere reminiscent of the show “Cheers.”

He got the ball rolling on the restaurant’s new theme and ownership. He looked into hiring an artist, Geoff Rawling, to paint three murals for the restaurant.

Then, the death of Eric Garner happened, followed by a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who placed Garner in a fatal chokehold. A tsunami of police tensions around the country followed. Protesters continue to critique police department tactics and perceived racial disparities in policing.

Sabbatino said there are now those who are supportive of police officers and those who are critical — with very few in the middle. His hope is to at least start to mend those relationships by making the restaurant a place where law enforcement officials and community members can come together.

“I hope that the community can see that side of us,” Sabbatino said. “When we get off work, we want to be just like everyone else.”

The Restaurant

The restaurant is tucked away in the corner of a nondescript strip mall on Arthur Kill Road and surrounded by tall grass and trees. But there’s no guessing what it’s all about. A sign with the crests of New York City’s many civil service agencies marks the bar’s entrance.

Inside, a high island tabletop with an expansive painting of the New York Harbor, ferry and all, welcomes customers.

The first customers to walk in the restaurant on its opening day Saturday were two locals, surprised the name had changed. Bartender Amy Blanchfield explained that a few of the Dugout favorites are still on the menu, some with different names.

One of those favorites — egg rolls with corned beef, sauerkraut and provolone cheese, remains on the menu. Another specialty is an ambitiously indulgent hamburger made with fried macaroni and cheese and bacon. Sabbatino has renamed it “The Cardiac Arrest Burger.”

It’s a good thing this bar is EMT-friendly.

10-4 Bar and Grill is open from 11 a.m. to midnight on weekdays; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to midnight on Sundays. For more information, call (718) 948-0200.

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