New bar and restaurant will maintain neighborhood feel
Residents were sad to see Eleanor Rigby’s shut their doors last week, but a new neighborhood bar and restaurant is set to open in the space at 133 Mineola Blvd.
White Oak, which currently has a location in Hell’s Kitchen, will replace the popular Mineola mainstay and owner Dean Miller said he has every intention of keeping the neighborhood-feel of the prior establishment.
“Our goal is to be a neighborhood bar, a place for the community to get together,” Miller said. “A lot of people talk about the ‘Cheers’ mentality, that’s what we’re going for. Our goal is to stand at the front door and embrace everyone who walks in and get to know their life story.”
Helping Miller achieve this task is Rich, head bartender at Eleanor Rigby’s who will assume the same role at White Oak. Heading up the kitchen will be Executive Chef Steven Del Lima, who has repeatedly received rave reviews, including being inducted into the Best Chefs of America three years in a row.
“[Del Lima] has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry,” Miller said of his executive chef, who boasts more than 25 years in the industry. “He’s able to take simple things and make them creative.”
Miller and Del Lima opened White Oak in 2015, and when he found out that Eleanor Rigby’s was up for sale, he knew it would be the perfect place to open the second location of his popular restaurant.
“I used to frequent Eleanor Rigby’s, it has a lot of fond memories,” said Miller, who previously operated two real estate business in Mineola. “When the opportunity came up [to buy it], we knew it was exactly what we were looking for. The neighborhood is growing and evolving, there’s so much business here. It was a fantastic opportunity.”
White Oak Long Island’s menu focuses on “elevated pub grub” as well as high quality seafood, which Miller said is hard to find in the area.
“We want to bring that in and have a good selection of seafood options, along with restaurant quality dining and bar food at affordable prices,” Miller said. “We’re focusing on trying to build a menu around things that are good for you, and the environment and local community.”
The restaurant will be completely redone and will maintain an inviting atmosphere. In addition to tables for dining, a bar area will be added to the front room and another room will feature a wall-length counter, similar to a sushi bar, where patrons can be served directly. Miller said he hopes to reconfigure the restaurant to accommodate more people than it can currently hold, which is about 123 people.
“We want to be involved in the neighborhood and be able to give back to as much as we can,” -Dean Miller
Music lovers who flocked to Eleanor Rigby’s for their live shows will be happy to know that’s a tradition that Miller plans to continue.
“One of the biggest complaints we received was that there was no dance floor. We won’t have a formal dance floor, but we do intend on having live music and to accommodate bands and having a place for the audience to gather around them,” Miller said.
And those wondering what will happen to all of the Beatles-memorabilia that covered the walls at Eleanor Rigby’s, need not fear. Miller plans to hold an auction for the merchandise and donate the proceeds to a charity or family in need.
“We are very community-centric,” Miller said. “We want to be involved in the neighborhood and be able to give back to as much as we can, whether it’s financially or just providing a wonderful experience within our four walls.”
Miller said he does not have a definite date of opening yet, noting that while he’d love to say all the renovations would be done by May, he would also like to see if they can add a second floor to the building to accommodate parties and catering events, which would delay the opening.
Find out more about White Oak Long Island at their Facebook page, White Oak LI or by visiting www.whiteoaknyc.com.