O’Connell’s Pub reopens, with patio seating

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ST. LOUIS – A well-known St. Louis institution reopened for business Monday.

O’Connell’s Pub, a familiar favorite is adapting in the age of this pandemic.

At the corner of Kingshighway and Shaw sits one of the choice spots for a cheeseburger in the City of St. Louis.

Since 1972 O’Connell’s Pub has been as synonymous as the Stan the Man statue when it came to naming an iconic location in St. Louis.

But, closed since March, Monday this mainstay was back open for business.

“It’s a huge day in many ways.  First day, I’ll start crying.  First day we are open since we closed on S. Patrick’s Day which was tough for us.  Also, first day we are open since Jack passed, also a big deal.  And only the third time O’Connell’s has been closed in the history of O’Connell’s since the ’60s,” said Lizi Cruz, Jack’s daughter

The famed restaurant closed in March due to COVID-19.

Then in June, owner Jack Parker died leaving his children with a decision on what to do with the brick and mortar location.

“Very much happy and I know he would be happy his children stepped in to take the reins as it were,” said Lenard Voelker, a former employee.

After months of upgrades and changes, open again.

The new outdoor patio offers social distancing seating, and the return of some familiarity for many, in these unfamiliar times.

“It’s an icon.  O’Connell’s for me has always been this secret safe place.  It’s an icon where you can come in and there’s wood panels and feel cozy and talk to someone for hours on end that you may never have met,” said Dale Dufer, O’Connell’s restorer.

Gone inside are the four top tables, and the confessional booth.

Some of the favorite seating for now, adjusted to deal with coronavirus.

“I mean just smelling the grill.  I am doing a lot, running around doing one thousand things and when I first smelled the grill it was just like wow.  The sense of smell is such a powerful memory and I’ve smelled it my whole life.  So, to smell it again it is just, we are back,” said John Parker, Jr., General Manager.

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