Eleanor Rigby’s, Mineola’s Beatles-themed pub, poured its last pint on Wednesday night after 23 years as a downtown mainstay.
Cathy and Larry Monachelli, the owners, have closed the restaurant and bar at 133 Mineola Blvd. and sold it to restaurateurs Dean Miller and Steven Del Lima, who will replace it with a Long Island outpost of White Oak, their Manhattan oyster bar.
When they opened it in 1994, Eleanor Rigby’s became a second career for Cathy Monachelli, a former social worker, and Larry Monachelli, a retired FDNY lieutenant, Cathy said. Now they want to spend more time with their family and friends, she said.
Over the years, it became a “neighborhood place” where people celebrated birthdays, graduations and other special occasions, said Cathy Monachelli, a Williston Park native.
“Everyone always said it was like a ‘Cheers’ atmosphere, like they always felt comfortable when they walk in the door, and that’s what we always strive for,” she said.
Miller and Del Lima are planning major renovations for the space to turn it into an oyster bar and pub with a selection of draft beers, Cathy Monachelli said.
They also want to be involved in the Mineola community, as the Monachellis were — they often hosted fundraisers for local nonprofit groups and nearby Winthrop-University Hospital, Cathy Monachelli said.
The couple also participated in Mineola Chamber of Commerce events and took busloads of people to the Tunnel to Towers run in New York City, an annual event commemorating 9/11, said Tony Lubrano, president of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce.
“They’re going to be sorely missed because they’ve been such great contributors to the community,” Lubrano said. “They give to everything.”
The Monachellis’ ability to adapt helped them stay established so long, Cathy Monachelli said. Eleanor Rigby’s was among the first Mineola restaurants to host live music, and it also hosted trivia and painting nights, she said.
Also playing a role were the Village of Mineola’s efforts to revitalize the downtown area over the past decade and the loyalty of their customers, she said.
Response to the news of the bar’s closing has “been overwhelming for us,” Cathy Monachelli said. “… So many people are coming in to take their last picture or have their last burger.”
The Monachellis live nearby in East Williston, and though they’re handing over the reins, they won’t be staying away completely once Miller and Del Lima open White Oak, Cathy Monachelli said.
“We look forward to being customers here,” she said.
Reach reporter Noah Manskar by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 516.307.1045 x204. Also follow us on Twitter @noahmanskar and Facebook at facebook.com/theislandnow.