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Dec 19, 2007 11:35 AM

Happy Robbins? Happy Robin's?

I've been talking to a coworker about a place he loved as a kid in Bayside, Queens, called Happy Robbins (or Happy Robin's, Happy Robbins', or some other variation) but I haven't been able to find any further information about it. Does anyone remember HR (and what it was actually called) and can you tell me about it?


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  1. Happy Robin was a wonderful burger and steak family-style restaurant on the corner of 217th St. and Hillside Avenue in Queens Village. I grew up in the neighborhood and our family used to go there at least once a month. It was a wonderful place with great steak cooked on a huge open hearth for under $6 a steak as I remember. That shows you how long ago I am talking about. I would imagine that Happy Robin shut its doors in the early 1970s if not before. Wonderful memories.

    11 Replies
    1. re: bobbyrab

      Thanks so much for the backround, bobbyrab! I haven't been able to find anything about this place, and your info is great. I really appreciate it.

      1. re: LoDega

        yes,....I grew up at 210th and Hillside. Happy Robin (or ? The Happy Robin) was alone in a residential stretch on Hillside with an almost fast food exterior, that was remodeled in the early '70's I think. Don't know when it closed. Good grilled steaks as stated. ...other notable eateries in that area from that era - Bruno's luncheonette at 214th and Hillside, Jay's Diner at Francis Lewis Blvd and Hillside, Goody's Luncheonette also there, Salvatore's Pizzeria at 202 and Hillside and Gaby's Pizza (? still there) in the Francis Lewis shopping center.

        1. re: jkny

          Correct name: "The Happy Robin". It was actually my father's place. It was a family style restaurant located on the corner of 217th street and Hillside Avenue (currently a burger king franchise). He started the business in the late 60's and ran it until the early 80's.

          A lot of local kids worked there and a lot of locals ate there. To this day people often recognize my father from the restaurant. The menu was simple, steaks(T-Bone), hamburgers (large and thick), deep fried chicken, fillet of sole. The food was grade 'A' and always fresh. Open flame grilling for the meats, broilers for the fish. Clean high grade vegetable oil for the deep fryer made for famously delicious french fries. Self serf style, no waiters/waitresses. Customers went up to the counter ordered food and were given a ticket. When the food was ready, a call went out over the P/A. He spent a lot of time there ensuring good clean food for a lot of patrons. There was a back room for birthdays and party's where we spent nearly all of ours.

          My father also had an ice cream soda shop called "Milk Mate" on Francis Lewis Blvd and Willets Point Blvd. (currently a McDonald's) where he sold milk shakes in the early 60's. Every once in a while he still gets a hankering to open up a fresh ice cream parlor.

          1. re: ren hoek

            Thank you so much for this wonderfully informative post. :-)

            1. re: ren hoek

              Nice post ren hoek – makes me wish the DeLorean’s flux capacitor was in working condition.

              1. re: ren hoek

                hi , i was born down street from ps35 in the 1950's . i remember going to happy robins before i moved to michigan in 1961. i didnt remember it as the happy robin . but i did love tghe place. wasnt there 2 at one time?

                1. re: ren hoek

                  Thank you so much, ren hoek! I'm glad I checked back. Those sound like terrific places, and I wish I'd been to both.

                  1. re: ren hoek

                    I write creative memoir, and the detailed history of your dad's restaurant helped me greatly. One thing: I distinctly remember being at The Happy Robin in 1964 and earler, and yet you say your dad started the business in the late '60s. Again, thank you so, so much for your history; my story is all the better for it!

                  2. re: jkny

                    Dont forget Perriwinkle fish restaurant....

                2. re: bobbyrab

                  i lived next door to happy robbins. 88-15 217 st. they use to give me free food when i was a kid. actually happy robbins shut its doors in the mid 80's after they closed their doors Roy rogers took its place.