The St. James undergoes changes with new ownership
Known for its authentic American fare, vintage decor and an overall at-home feel, The St. James of Mineola has been a family dining destination since 1985, but the Second Street eatery is beginning to undergo some changes.
Jimmy O’Leary, the driving force behind The St. James since its establishment 32 years ago, recently relinquished his ownership to Shaun Manning, ushering in a new era focused on maintaining the reputation of the restaurant, while implementing upgrades and changes to “freshen up the place.”
“Long-time customers have been very receptive, they needed some change,” said Manning. “They’re happy to see some money getting put back into a great place that’s been around for such a long time. We don’t want to change what The St. James is at its essence, just modernize it, because it’s been successful for 32 years.”
The transition between owners was near seamless, with Manning taking over officially on July 27, and reopening the restaurant’s doors on Aug. 7.
The initial changes thus far have been cosmetic, giving the space much needed improvements like a fresh paint job, new flooring and upgraded lighting fixtures, as well as the addition of new flat screen televisions throughout the dining spaces and bar area.
Still in the works is the completion of a new menu, which will stick to its roots of American pub-style cuisine, but with an emphasis on wholesome, locally-sourced ingredients.
“The new menu will be very Irish American, bar-style stuff made mainly from scratch with no frozen foods,” said Manning. “Some things we’ll feature will be chicken pot pie or shepherd’s pie, really good burgers, steak and chicken tidbits and some other feel-good foods. It will be made right and presented right with fresh ingredients.”
An updated menu is expected to be finalized and presented to customers by early November.
A major focus for Manning, who has seen success in the hospitality business with Manning’s Pub & Grille in Carle Place and International Delight Cafe in Rockville Centre, is attracting a wider base of customers, accommodating the restaurant’s loyal patrons while attempting to entice new ones.
He intends to extend the restaurant’s hours to 2 a.m. on certain nights to attract a younger crowd and liven up the bar scene. Other firsts for the restaurant will include the implementation of a delivery service, live music by local artists and additional craft beer and cocktail choices at the bar.
Manning is confident that the location’s proximity to the Mineola train station and new apartment complexes in the growing downtown section of the neighborhood will serve as an advantage as he moves forward with the intended changes.
“I think there has to be a little more of a craft beer and liquor selection for the younger demographic. Some late night dining and an improved atmosphere should improve the bar crowd and attract all ages,” he said.
But while change is good, Manning is not looking to “reinvent the wheel, just make it spin a little faster.”
Much of the staff, known for a consistent level of quality and customer service, will remain the same.
“It’s been a great transition. The staff is excited about some of the new ideas we’re implementing,” said Manning. “They’ve been easy to work with and they have some interesting ideas themselves.”
For more information and updates regarding The St. James, visit www.saintjamesmineola.com.