New Irish Pub Taking Over Finnegan’s Old Location, Opening Set for May

Mickey O’Neill Ryan has already told her grandson she wants a tiara — and free food — when the restaurant/pub bearing her name opens sometime in late May in the former Finnegan’s Irish Pub location.

No doubt she’ll get both, said Charles “Chuck” Rizzo, who is in the process of doing some minor interior refreshening work, hiring staff and securing the necessary liquor, building and health permits needed to open Mickey O’Neill’s Irish Pub at 24102 W. Lockport St.

Rizzo, who already paid homage to grandfather Jim Ryan by displaying a photo of him from his Northwestern University basketball days at Charlie’s Bar & Grill in downtown Elmhurst, said the name made sense given his Irish roots on his mother’s side of the family. Besides, he’s already used his surname for Rizzo’s restaurant/bar in downtown Naperville.

The Plainfield pub he envisions will be similar to Finnegan’s in that he hopes it appeals to families and couples who want to dine and then to a younger crowd later at night. To that end, Mickey O’Neill’s will feature Irish fare, sandwiches and entrees as well as appetizers and bar food, Rizzo said.

“We’re hoping for a good dinner crowd through our chef, who’s a three-star French chef,” he said.

Finnegan’s closed in September 2011 after owner Dale Lewis lost his state liquor license for failure to pay back taxes. At the time, Lewis vowed he would reopen but that never came to pass.

Rizzo said he learned about the Plainfield location from the owners of 41 North Contractors, with whom he has worked and who live in Plainfield. In fact, there was such interest in seeing the business reopen that almost all of his investors either live or work in Plainfield, he said.

“I’ve never had that happen before,” he said. “It was great to see that kind of response.”

And when they hold the grand opening, Mickey O’Neill herself will be in attendance, Rizzo said.

“She’s my mom’s mother, and she asked her, ‘Are you OK with (Chuck) naming the bar after you?'” he said. The answer was a resounding yes, he said.

As for grandma eating up all of the profits, he’s not too worried.

“She’ll have a beer and a bowl of soup, and she’ll be done,” he said, laughing.

Source:  Karen Sorensen, plainfield.patch.com

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