Our Business Spotlight this issue shines on a new Juniper Berry advertiser and a tried and true old neighborhood staple, O’Neill’s Restaurant & Bar in Maspeth. The co-owner of the restaurant, George O’Neill, Georgie to his many friends, and his daughter, Tara, met with John Killcommons and me and we just listened as Georgie poured his thoughts out for this article. Every significant recollection gave rise to several more remembrances of years past. Georgie shares ownership of the restaurant with Tara’s husband, Danny Pyle. You can see how devoted Tara is to her father as she looks after him like most daughters do with their fathers, attentively and with great respect.
O’Neill’s Restaurant was opened at the current site in 1928 by Georgie O’Neill’s father. Through the years the eatery has grown into a 10,000 plus square feet full service sports bar with over 100 satellite televisions, brick oven pizza at the bar called appropriately enough, “O’Neillio’s,” and the very popular Monday Night Wing specials that feature ten different wing flavors. There are currently 5 rooms that serve as the catering halls for the many private parties that the neighboring community patronizes throughout the year.
Georgie O’Neill joined the restaurant over 50 years ago after his 1956 tour of duty in the service. At that time O’Neill’s as we know it today didn’t exist, it was still a baby, replete with an open pit fire so all the locals could watch their food being cooked. And, what great food it was. I was there, trust me, the food was out of sight delicious! From your first encounter with the great down home cuisine, you were hooked for life!
From that humble beginning, O’Neill’s became a popular place to dine and meet with family and friends. Through the years as its popularity grew, rooms were added that spoke to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. There isn’t a family in the community who hasn’t at some point in their lives had a meal at O’Neill’s Restaurant.
Georgie really gets into the recollection of past years when he tells you about the 1986 NY Mets winning the World Series and the whole team ending up in O’Neill’s to celebrate their great victory. Mets were everywhere in Maspeth, on the street, into the outdoor facilities in the O’Neill’s backyard, all over town and the festivities went on the whole day and into the night. Our very own NY Mets, World Series Champions, celebrating the win in our very own O’Neill’s Restaurant. Does it get any better? More currently Georgie, just as proudly, tells you about the excitement of O’Neill’s winning the McFadden’s Wing Bowl contest at Citi Field for having the best tasting chicken wings in NYC!
Another great culinary accomplishment that Georgie cannot resist telling you about is the O’Neill’s tremendously popular Prime Aged Porterhouse Steak for Two served with all the accoutrements associated with good steaks including beer-battered onion rings.
It’s not just top of the line Prime Aged Porterhouse Steaks, or award-winning chicken wings, at O’Neill’s because they have a very complete menu of seafood, pastas and comfort foods; meals to send everyone home happy after a night out at O’Neill’s.
Another popular item on their menu is the Kobe hamburgers. If you’re familiar with the Kobe brand you know it‘s derived from cattle that have been almost literally spoon-fed for their entire life resulting in another great beef taste for the epicureans among us!
O’Neill’s Restaurant & Bar is also famous for what they give back to the community that is so loyal to them. Every year they host many fundraisers for those who have experienced hard times and tops among that list is the annual Christmas fundraiser for widows and orphans of the NYC Police Department.
On the personal side, Georgie lives in a co-op in Maspeth and is married to his wife, Mary, for many years. They have six children, five daughters and one son, all raised in Maspeth.
We can go on telling you about the great O’Neill’s Restaurant and Bar, their outstanding food and camaraderie and all they’ve done for the community but you get the message. Ownership of O’Neill’s, Georgie and his son-in-law, Danny, are the good guys of a neighborhood without whom all of us would be cheated out of knowing such kind and generous businessmen who wake up every day with the thought of what they can give back to our great community.
That concludes a virtual trip down memory lane with one of our neighborhood’s first families, the O’Neill’s of Maspeth. Have a date night with your significant other, get to O’Neill’s and let Georgie, Tara and the whole friendly O’Neill’s staff fuss over you. No article on O’Neill’s from me could be complete without mentioning my long time server from the 1960s, Stella. Yes, Stella is still a part of the loyal extended O’Neill’s family after 50 years! Say hello to Stella, have a drink and a great meal at a reasonable price.
Tell them all you read about them in the Juniper Berry. Trust me, they’ll love it and so will you!
Restaurant & Bar
64-21 53rd Street
Maspeth NY 11378