More than two years ago, neighborhood favorite O’Neill’s went up in flames. The four-score-year-old family restaurant was left with nothing but ashes. After a complete reconstruction, Maspeth can hope to see the eatery finally open for business within the month.
“We’re looking to bring back what we had,” said Danny Pyle, who runs the restaurant with his father-in-law, owner George O’Neill.
The grease fire first started in the kitchen and went up into the air ducts. O’Neill said it “took everything, nothing was saved.”
He was across the street at the time and said he thought it was a false alarm at first.
“It sure wasn’t a false alarm,” he added.
Now, two years in the making, the neighborhood staple is eager to reopen.
“I’m very ready,” O’Neill said. “I’ve got about $12 in my pocket.”
Byle, a retired city firefighter, said he and the O’Neill’s team are looking forward to delivering the “best steaks in New York,” their award-winning buffalo wings, brick-oven pizza and more. He said this time around, they have essentially reconstructed the building to be “pretty much fireproof” and installed a new sprinkler system in the basement.
“We lost everything. Now, we’re just trying our best to get everything done as quickly as we can,” Pyle said. “It’s a brand new establishment in such a great neighborhood.”
O’Neil said for the past two years, area residents have been asking him when he is going to open the restaurant’s doors again. He said that along with having to reconstruct everything, Sandy hurt progress. Construction workers headed to the damaged areas to fix what the storm broke.
O’Neill’s has a tentative opening date of Friday, June 14, Flag Day. A local firehouse took down the restaurant’s flag the night of the fire and wants to present the establishment with a new one for the reopening. However, Byle said he is “up against a lot of different variables,” and if that date falls through, they hope to open within the next few weeks.