The original plan was for the large depiction of Teddy Roosevelt’s face in neon — 6-feet or so tall — to be turned off nightly. That way, people could tell from a distance whether the Audrey Ave. spot was open. But Instagram had other ideas, as did Angelo Monniello , general manager of the new Teddy’s Bully Bar, once he saw how beautifully TR glowed during the wee hours.
Monniello, 28, in his first managerial job, had also expected Teddy’s following to slowly build. But Oyster Bay had other ideas. "We didn’t even tell friends and family," said Monniello of the bar-restaurant’s uber-quiet soft opening on Nov. 1. People came anyway that first Monday, and by Saturday they were "crazy full." A possible explanation: Teddy’s has taken over the space formerly occupied by Canterbury’s, which for decades was OB’s most dependable local haunt. Canterbury’s was an early pandemic casualty, as were the town’s Nikkei of Peru, Osteria Leana and Taco Bay, leaving residents with a modestly urgent need for a casually elegant place like Teddy’s, its apt slogan promising to take diners "back in time with a modern twist."
"The biggest thing to me is how quickly we’ve blown up," Monniello said, shaking his head and staring wide-eyed at the 96-seat dining room, more than half full during lunchtime on a Thursday. "We’ve been going nonstop."
As for the menu, well, it’s the sort of thing you might see at the Clubhouse in Bellmore, which makes sense as both eateries are owned by Lenny Gross and his son Zach, Monniello’s best friend. Highlights include a fine burger called the Hangover ($16), the meat chargrilled and topped with a fried egg, bacon and Cheddar cheese; a panini-style Cuban sandwich of roast pork and Swiss cheese ($15); grilled oysters with bacon, Parmesan cheese and cherry peppers ($16); and fried codfish served with fries ($22).
Meanwhile, Teddy’s dining room has been spiffed up with bar tables atop vintage bicycles and a brand-new fireplace. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 6 p.m., and there’s live music every evening but Sunday, when it’s in the afternoon.
"I've been working 100-hour weeks," Monniello admitted. He didn’t seem to mind, though, cheerfully rushing to help his servers expedite orders, pull pints behind the bar, help out in the kitchen, and handle host duties up front. "It’s all phenomenal."
Teddy’s Bully Bar is at 46 Audrey Ave. in Oyster Bay; 516-408-5339, teddysbullybar.com. Opening hours are Sunday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.