The original plan was that the large image of Teddy Roosevelt’s face in neon – 6 feet or so high – should be turned off every night. That way, people in the distance could see if Audrey Ave. Square was open. But Instagram had other ideas, just like Angelo Monniello had , general manager of the new Teddy’s Bully Bar, he once saw how beautifully TR glowed in the wee hours.
Monniello, 28, had in his first managerial job also expected Teddy’s followers to slowly build up. But Oyster Bay had other ideas. “We did not even tell friends and family,” Monniello said of the bar restaurant’s uber-quiet soft opening on November 1st. People came the first Monday anyway, and on Saturday they were “insanely full”. One possible explanation: Teddy’s has taken over the space previously occupied by Canterbury’s, which for decades was OB’s most trusted local haunt. Canterbury’s was an early pandemic victim, as were the city’s Nikkei in Peru, Osteria Leana and Taco Bay, leaving residents with a modest urgent need for a relaxed elegant place like Teddy’s, and its appropriate slogan promises to take diners “back in time with a modern “twist.”
“The biggest thing for me is how fast we’ve blown up,” Monniello said, shaking his head and staring wide-eyed at the 96-seat dining room, more than half full during lunchtime on a Thursday. “We have been driving non-stop.”
As for the menu, yes, it’s the kind of thing you can see in the Bellmore clubhouse, which makes sense since both eateries are owned by Lenny Gross and his son Zach, Monniello’s best friend. Highlights include a fine burger called Hangover ($ 16), the meat grilled and topped with a fried egg, bacon and cheddar cheese; a panini-style Cuban sandwich of fried pork and Swiss cheese ($ 15); grilled oysters with bacon, parmesan cheese and cherry pepper ($ 16); and fried cod served with fritters ($ 22).
Meanwhile, Teddy’s dining room has been spruced up with bar tables on top of vintage bikes and a brand new fireplace. Happy hour is daily from 4pm to 6pm and there is live music every night except Sunday when it is in the afternoon.
“I’ve been working 100-hour weeks,” Monniello admitted. However, he did not seem to mind as he cheerfully hurried to help his servers speed up orders, pull pints behind the bar, help in the kitchen and clear host tasks in front. “It’s all phenomenal.”
Teddy’s Bully Bar is at 46 Audrey Ave. in Oyster Bay; 516-408-5339, teddysbullybar.com. The opening hours are Sunday to Thursday from kl. 12:00 to 22:00, and Friday and Saturday from