A neighborhood grill is sold


Jim McQuade sold his business, McQuade’s Neighborhood Grill, and things are going to get “ugly” in Lynbrook.

After 15 years of serving the Lynbrook community, McQuade sold his eatery to James Laurelli of Ugly Phil’s Brewing, who plans to transform the business later this year. The name will stay the same until the transition is complete by October 2023.

"Our hours have been changed slightly, and we will be open to customers from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Lauren Laurelli said. "McQuade's visitors can expect the same dinner menu, the same exact staff, monthly rotating cocktail specials, weekly dinner specials, happy hour, Sunday brunch, and a soon to start lunch menu."

The news was shared on Facebook on Jan. 5. The post garnered reactions from hundreds of people who supported the restaurant. People were upset to see the business go, but wished McQuade the best of luck on his future endeavors. McQuade’s reasoning to sell the business goes all the way back to the coronavirus pandemic.

“During the pandemic, restaurants took a huge hit and even after, people were still not going out to eat as often or booking parties like we were used to,” McQuade said. “The restaurant was very large with two catering rooms and we cut back hours of operation due to staffing shortages and other Covid-related issues. Increasing costs, staffing shortages, wages and overall inflation coupled with the decrease in sales made us feel it was the right time to sell.”

After 15 years of running the restaurant, there are plenty of things McQuade is going to miss. “I will miss the day-to-day operations and seeing familiar faces,” he said. “I enjoyed getting to know people and seeing everyone especially after the pandemic kept many people away.”

The decision to sell the business was not easy, but as the costs went up, McQuade felt like it was the right time to sell.

“It was inevitable that prices would go up, but we didn’t want to lose our loyal customers who loved coming regularly with their families,” McQuade said.

Although this decision was difficult, he is honored to have the support of the community.

“Lynbrook is an amazing town,” McQuade said. “From the mayor’s office, to town hall, other local businesses, the police and the fire departments, we always have been thankful for those friendships and partnerships. We’ve partnered with the town over the years for many fundraisers and events. We’ve also been honored several times as business of the year.”

Now that the business was sold, McQuade plans on taking it easy. He said he’ll be enjoying time with his family and relaxing a bit more. In the spring, he will get ready for golf season.

“Many of the staff were sad, but also looking forward to something new, McQuade said. “Several have stayed on.”

Steve Martinez, who frequented the  restaurant throughout the years, said, “Everyone was always friendly. It was just a nice neighborhood place and it will definitely leave a void, but at least the new brewery thing sounds trendy.”

Without knowing much about the new business owners and what the restaurant will transform into, Martinez still has a positive outlook on the future of the establishment.

“Businesses come and go, but I’ll always hope for success to anyone who sets up shop in Lynbrook,” he said.

Another frequent patron, Laura Laria, says she visited the restaurant every other month. She said she was there for “many occasions like birthdays, and their Sunday brunch was great.” Laria also had her grammar school reunion in the back room of the restaurant a few years ago.

“The vibe and atmosphere was family-oriented and is what many places are missing and just don’t have the soul for the restaurant business,” Laria said. “People go not only for the food but the entire experience.”

According to Laria, the “family-oriented” atmosphere was due, in part, to the workers at the restaurant. “From the hostesses to the waitress’s and helpers, all were kind, engaging and made you feel welcomed,” she said. For this reason alone, Laria’s “heart sank” when she read the Facebook post about the restaurant being sold.

“I am not into the bar or brewery scene as I enjoy going to restaurants and eateries instead,” Laria said. “It will be a sad loss in Lynbrook.”