“I’m elated because all the neighbors are happy about it,” said O’Neill at the grand reopening of the Maspeth staple last Friday.
The restaurant held a soft opening before Labor Day, and despite fears that there were a few kinks that still needed to be worked out, O’Neill listened to his partner - and son-in-law - and opened the doors.
According to O’Neill it was so crowded that people couldn’t get inside. “They needed a place to go I guess,” he said.
O’Neill said he is excited to serve more people because during the rebuilding he was able to build a larger catering room.
“Apparently word got out, because we’re booking party after party,” he said.
At the reopening celebration last week, firefighters from Rescue 4 presented O’Neill with the American flag that was rescued from the fire.
Longtime and new customers packed the restaurant on Friday, eating in the new dining room and sitting at the bar. Janet Treadwell, a former resident of Maspeth, said she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to eat at O’Neill’s again.
“I love it,” she said. “They have good food, good drinks and good people.”
Billy, a Maspeth native who wished to only give his first name because he cut out of work early to be at the reopening, was a regular at the old O'Neill's.
“I’ve known George for 25 years, he’s a great guy and this is a great establishment,” said Billy, who was enjoying the atmosphere with a friend. “This is like a second home for us. This is the best place in town, I’m so happy it’s reopened.”