The popular Irish Cottage Restaurant, a staple in the Forest Hills neighborhood in Queens for nearly 60 years, founded by County Donegal native Kathleen McNulty and her late husband, announced last week that it is permanently shutting its doors after the death of McNulty from COVID-19 and a severe downturn in the trade since New York State went on pause.
“There’s no use crying in your beer. May the fond memories and good times shared by our patrons of the Irish cottage burn bright in their hearts forevermore,” an announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page said last week.
McNulty passed away from COVID-19 at a nursing home in Freeport, Long Island; she was recuperating there from a hip injury, her son Danny told the Forest Hills Post.
Danny posted on Facebook last month, “It is with a heavy heart that my family has to bring you all the sad news of the passing of my mother Kathleen Elizabeth McNulty.
She was a true Donegal woman who truly loved her job of filling up your hearts with 59 years of good times and cheers.”
Though the McNulty family did get a reprieve on paying rent for the Irish Cottage, located on 72nd Avenue, keeping the business alive has proven all but impossible.
“We applied for the federal bailout but we didn’t get it so it’s just not possible to keep it going,” McNulty told the Forest Hills Post.
The Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce also issued a statement on the closure of the Irish Cottage.
“The Irish Cottage has been a local favorite in Forest Hills. Generations have enjoyed the food, spirits and good times at ‘the Cottage,’” President Leslie Brown said in an email to the Queens Chronicle.
Patrons of the Irish Cottage lamented its passing on Facebook. “I was one of the last patrons in on the evening of March 16th before the 8pm shutdown. We came in for an early St. Paddy's Day drink, never thinking it would be the last. There will surely be a void in the neighborhood without the Cottage,” April Cox wrote.
“The closing in itself is upsetting, but the circumstances even worse. I'll cherish all the memories, all the friends I made, and all the pints I've had in the Cottage over the years,” Manuel Alejandro wrote.
The Irish Cottage isn’t the only Queens Irish establishment to permanently close due to the coronavirus downturn. The 16-year old Woodhaven House bar and restaurant in Rego Park also announced last week that it has served its last orders.
“It is with a heavy heart we must inform you that Woodhaven House will not be reopening after this pandemic has passed,” a notice on Facebook said.
“It is not financially possible to continue. These last few months have been devastating for us all in so many ways. Family members and friends lost, so much economic hardship suffered.”