KELLY’S , for years one of the most beloved pubs around, recently completed a major overhaul and re-design of its facility intended to re-establish the place as a more family-friendly neighborhood eatery.
Take one step off of Eliot Avenue through the brand new front door, and you’ll instantly be taken aback with what proprietor Mike Kelly proudly calls “the wow factor.”
The place is now incredibly spacious and open, with clean architectural lines throughout. Perhaps the fresh wood smell of cedar will first grab your attention, or maybe the stone, tile or marble throughout; it might be the eight high-definition LG televisions above the bar, which is now four times as larger. Either way, the bar looks better than ever.
But keep walking straight ahead to the dining area, because that’s what the redesign is really all about. Highlights of the new space include wood-slat Venetian blinds, the kind you see in great movies like “Chinatown” or “The Godfather,” and a stone fireplace that looks as welcoming as it is warming. Whereas other places settle for lights or lamps, KELLY’S has sconces that produce a cumulative effect of tremendous class without being too off-putting.
For Mike Kelly and his family (he and dad Patrick own the place), the refurbishment is a dream come true. The Kelly family- Middle Village born and raised, and proud Our Lady of Hope alums- have owned the place for 20 years. They know full well the charms and the specialness of a neighborhood like Middle Village.
“People in this neighborhood care about the neighborhood, they take care of it,” said Kelly. In many ways, the renovation is a give-back to the community, said Kelly, a thank you for years of loyal service and a message that, even in these tough times, “you know what, we’re here to stay. Kelly’s is here to stay.”
Kelly praised the vision of his longtime friend and patron Kenny McBrien, who oversaw the renovation, which was more than a year in the planning. “It was just so easy to work with him,” said Kelly. “We started just sitting at the bar one night, drawing up plans on napkins.” The talks became serious and in months Kelly said they were planning the redesign in earnest.
While McBrien’s work is most apparent in the bar, it’s really the refurbished dining area that Kelly said he hopes would become a local crown jewel for families dining out. “We’re going to have a Kid’s Meal here that’ll be delicious,” said Kelly. “It’ll be good for them, but it’s still going to cost less than it would at McDonald’s.”
Despite these tough times, Kelly’s family-focused approach seems destined to attract a whole new clientele without compromising his existing patron’s loyalty.
“I want this to be a place where parents are going to feel comfortable bringing their kids, maybe after a game at Juniper,” said Kelly. “‘Hey, let’s head on over to Kelly’s for a burger,’ that kind of thing.”
KELLY’S Restaurant, whose kitchen opens on February 27, will be hosting its grand re-opening to the public the weekend of Friday March 13th (just before St. Patrick’s Day, of course!), so stay tuned. Or call 718-476-8444 in the meantime, for more info.