O’Mally’s in Southold is reopening Thursday afternoon with the same family-friendly atmosphere, but with new owners and a new look.
Veteran Brooklyn-based restaurateurs Jimmy and Kelly Kokotas purchased the Southold mainstay in December. Over the last several weeks they have transformed the restaurant into a rustic yet contemporary establishment.
The couple closed the restaurant for more than three weeks to finish the makeover, but is now ready to open.
Though the old carpeting and wallpaper have been replaced with new flooring and freshly painted walls, Mr. Kokotas said the menu items and ambiance that kept locals coming back to O’Mally’s isn’t changing … too much.
“The concept of burgers and steaks I think is great,” he said. “I think that was one of the things that attracted me to O’Mally’s.”
While they have only owned the building since October, the couple fell in love with O’Mally’s long before that. Mr. Kokotas has been visiting the North Fork for more than 20 years and often dined at O’Mally’s during his trips. Mr. Kokotas said he jumped at the chance to own the restaurant.
But the couple have put their own spin on the place.
For starters, the Kokotas’ are changing up the burger recipe. Previous owner Phil Mannino used to cook O’Mally’s burgers on the broiler. Now, Mr. Kokotas said, the meat for the burgers will be ground in house and grilled over an open flame.
“I’m a burger guy…. I have always preferred them with the barbecue marks on them,” he said.
Customers can expect to have a variety of burger specials on the menu when the restaurant opens, he said. One example is their lamb burger, though Mr. Kokotas said he plans to feature different types of patties to find out what people like before finalizing the menu.
Going forward Mr. Kokotas said he hopes to offer a breakfast menu, which is a staple at his popular Tom’s Restaurants in Prospect Heights and Coney Island.
“We are known for our breakfast,” he said. “I am hoping we will at least be able to offer a weekend breakfast or brunch especially in the peak season when the weather warms up.”
For now, however, Mr. Kokotas said he is looking to score high marks with the locals.
“Just because people see a different décor we don’t want people to think we are all of a sudden going to make the prices ridiculously expensive or so upscale that it won’t be friendly for families,” he said. “It will continue to be a family-friendly, casual and affordable restaurant.”
And for those of you wondering what will become of O’Mally’s iconic moose heads posted on the walls?
“The moose head will be put back up,” Mr. Kokotas confirmed. “[Mannino] took one of them, that was a part of the deal that he’d get one. He told me he’d leave me the other. So the remaining moose head will be going up.”
The restaurant will reopen today, Feb. 12, at 4:30 p.m.
O’Mally’s is located at 44780 Route 48 in Southold.
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