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Queens Chronicle

Best burger joint, Donovan’s Pub, in Woodside bought by neighbors

New owners, local guys, will keep Donovan’s name, menu and look

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Thu Jan 17, 2013.

Two Woodsiders born and raised will continue the 46-year-old tradition at Donovan’s Pub of serving shepherd’s pies and drool-worthy burgers while keeping the same name.

James Jacobson and Dan Connor closed the deal to purchase the burger landmark at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave. on Dec. 28. Joe Donovan, who established the pub in 1966, received a few other offers, Connor said, but the other individuals wanted to change the building into something other than a restaurant.

Not this pair. Jacobson, who worked as a busboy at Donovan’s Pub in 1985, and Connor will keep the Donovan name and, for the most part, the same menu.

“The name is the landmark. It’s very well-known and has been written up a lot for having the best burger. It’s just Donovan’s,” said Jacobson, a design director at Jay Franco by day and a bartender at the pub a few nights a week. “Changing the name wasn’t even a thought.”

“The burger will be the burger, the shepherd’s pie the shepherd’s pie, and you will still be able to get a pint of Guinness,” said Connor, a computer technician at Oliver Wydens and a DJ who has spun at Donovan’s.

There will be a few “improvements.”

“We refuse to use the word ‘change,’” Connor said. “Improve or going to add.”

Donovan’s Pub has never taken credit cards, which the duo plans to remedy.

Additionally, the traditional sconce lighting creates a very dark bar. Connor and Jacobson plan to add some lighting, refinish the floor and repaint some of the walls to brighten up the place. The outside will also be power washed and repainted.

The taps will get a little updating as well with a few more microbrew selections. The new owners want to also tap into the Mets and Giants fan customer base by subscribing to additional TV sports packages.

The two businessmen, who will officially take over any day now — as soon as their temporary liquor license is approved — grew up together in Woodside. Jacobson bought his childhood home and Connor, who is married to Jacobson’s sister, owns a home in the neighborhood as well.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Connor said.

Connor asked Community Board 2 on Thursday night to help resolve an issue that Joe Donovan had told him “was hurting his bottom line.”

Parking is prohibited from 4 to 7 p.m. on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue for a several-block stretch around the pub.

“Cars are towed pretty quickly,” Connor said. “About one car is towed a week.”

The board has had the issue on its agenda for a while, CB 2 Chairman Joe Conley said, adding the Department of Transportation has thrown out the board’s request to change the no-parking protocol once before.

“I think it’s antiquated,” Conley said. “Tow trucks go up and down like a parade.”

But not all the members agree. “I really approve of it. There are a lot of cars during rush hour,” Bette Cassaro said.

The business was originally listed with Massey Knakal Realty Services for $3,200,000, which after a few months dropped to $2,900,000.

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