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Re-Opened Donovan's in Bayside

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What with all the hoopla surrounding my little one's fourth b-day bash, I've completley forgotten to post about our lunch last week at the newly re-opened Donovan's in Bayside. We had heard that it had re-opened with different owners, the same cooks, and a "drop-dead gorgeous" interior, so we decided to give it a go. I found it hard to believe that a local pub could be mentioned in the same sentence as "drop-dead gorgeous," but having seen it myself, I stand corrected...

The renovation is unvbelievable- the place is completley and utterly transformed- open and airy filled with mosaictile floors and dark, elegant wood detailing. It had a sort of "grander Pastis" feel to it. As soon as I walked in, I commented to my husband that it resembled Louie's in Port Washington, and the hostess who had overheard smiled and told us it was owned by the same people as Louie's. I always said I had a great eye :)

Prices were higher than the old Donovan's, but food the same. Shepherd's pie was solid, burger and fries sublime. The new owners seemed to have taken a lot of things off the menu including the scallops which I had liked. There really weren't enough lunch-y things offered; they needed some more salads, sandwiches etc.

Afterwards we went to Maggie Moo's and ordered a giant sheetcake for the chowpup's b-day fete. As it was safari themed, we chose banana ice cream to complement the dark chocolate ice cream atop a brownie bottom. We are still getting calls about how great the cake was, and the party was last Saturday!

All Things Delish,
lisa

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  1. any chowhounders been here lately? i keep hearing mixed reviews on the "new" donavans.

    5 Replies
    1. re: anicon

      Yes its very pretty - they now have very high ceilings - it does get a bit noisy - the food is delish - They dont take reservations, they still dont take credit cards - and if you're expecting to feel like part of the family (like the old donovans) you will be disappointed.When encountering "old timers" who always went there - they dont like it. If you are new to it - or dont mind change - then you will be pleasantly surprised.

      1. re: anicon

        Have been going for AGES with my parents - we would drive in from Long Island or if we were passing the area we would always go out of our way to eat there...it was definitely and establishment. It was never revolutionary or mind blowing but you could get consistently good food and a good price, and hang around for a pint after dinner. I can't quite put my finger on why it wasn't quite right the most recent time I went (looking past the horrible service there are other things that are not quite right) but it isn't what we came to love it for. Can't reccommend against visiting Donovan's - food is still good. It is just a different experience now. Would love to hear what others think...

        1. re: missjeanne

          Missjeanne, you have said it so well. I grew up in Queens and live on Long Island now. Since I moved to LI my wife and I always tried to go back to Donovan's a couple of times a year. We liked it in the winter especially, with the fire going, I could start off with an onion soup, then dig into one of those great burger platters, all washed down with a couple of pints. We could get a sitter for the kids and do all this without breaking the bank and enjoy a nice cozy atmosphere.

          The new interior is very nice but not at all like the Donovan's I used to go out of my way for. The food looked the same but did not taste quite the same, burger was not as tasty for whatever reason, fries were small portion and room temp at best, service was not friendly.

          We may give it one more shot in case they were just having a rough night for whatever reason, but honestly, I think the magic is gone.

          "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Truer words were never spoken.

          1. re: King Vulture

            We had a lovely lunch here on Monday. Portions were generous & food was good.( N0acho app, Mediterranean salad, open faced turkey sandwich, chicken sandwich, burger, warm brownie with ice cream-not on menu, chocolate cake) Most impressive was the service. Hostess gave a friendly greeting & good bye, waiters were polite, stressed if we needed anything or if something wasn't right that we should let them know ASAP & they would fix it. Some of us ordered well done fries & others didn't, some wanted sandwich with cheese, others didn't & they got it right. Mango martinis were strong. All in all a pleasant time, we weren't rushed & the setting was pretty.

            1. re: King Vulture

              I agree that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." We've been since they reopened and while it's not bad, it's not Donovan's. I loved Donovan's because it was warm and cozy, worn and weathered. The food is just as it was before, which was fine, but I miss that "ye olde pub" feeling.