On St. Patrick’s Day, there just isn’t time for nepotism at an Irish pub.
But Mary and Olivia Abbatiello, daughters of Noreen’s Irish Tavern owner Noreen Reilly- Abbatiello, understand. They waited like everyone else for their table Thursday in Syosset.
“It’s OK,” Olivia said with a smile. “We’ve been here a bunch of times. They can eat first.”
“They” is a dedicated crowd who wondered last year whether there would be another St. Patrick’s Day feast in the heart of Syosset. Noreen’s is the former Mitch O’Neill’s, which Mary Kennedy ran for 36 years before selling the business and closing up shop last year after Memorial Day weekend.
What followed were Facebook messages of lament similar to losing an old friend, and curiosity about what would become of the beloved speakeasy. In September, new proprietor Reilly-Abbatiello opened the tavern at the 151 Jackson Ave. location, keeping the Irish theme and menu but making numerous renovations, including a white cloth partition between the bar and restaurant area.
Reilly-Abbatiello, who had volunteered at nearby St. Edward the Confessor Roman Catholic Church for 14 years before her latest business venture, continues to marvel at the support she has gotten.
“Absolutely off the charts, over the top,” Reilly-Abbatiello said of the community, which packed Noreen’s to the point where she had only a few moments to speak. “It’s unbelievable.”
Photo: Noreen's Irish Tavern celebrated its first St. Patrick's Day this year. The Syosset pub was renovated and renamed in 2010 after being sold. (March 17, 2011)