Life on Long Island
Minnesota's in Long Beach re-opens for business
During the spring and summer of 2012, late Sunday afternoons at Minnesota’s on West Beech Street in Long Beach were often punctuated by loud, overflowing crowds; a scene common many years prior – and a happening that has made this spot a weekly party destination.
This event is known as “Sunday Funday,” and as attractions it includes live music, a brunch menu, drink specials and the ability to watch sports on TV – all of which combines to create a bustling get-together that runs from noon until well into the evening. With both the indoor pub and the outdoor patio frequently filled to capacity during the summer season – as well as on Sundays year-round – anyone who’s ever visited Minnesota’s on the day before Monday during recent years can attest to the great amount of attendance and the overall bubbling personality (not to mention the resulting lack of parking for several blocks in all directions) that regularly marks this occasion.
But, during the days following the devastation brought upon Long Beach by superstorm Sandy at the end of October, that aforementioned patio took on a new meaning as a center of activity for the community as residents seeking food, clothing and necessities were able to find them at Minnesota’s, with its yard transformed into a relief center. Parking remained an unlikely find, but that was mainly due to scattered debris, as well as the presence of emergency vehicles and military jeeps that had arrived to aid in the recovery. The restaurant and pub was (as virtually all West Beech Street stores and shops were) closed until further notice.
Fast-forward to today (Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013), and a piece of normalcy returned to the neighborhood as Minnesota’s re-opened for business.
“After everything that’s happened, we felt it was right to come back on a Sunday,” says John Gallagher, the owner of Minnesota’s, “after years of successful Sunday Fundays, we thought people would get a real lift that way.” The reaction, continued Gallagher, was positive “We opened at noon, and there was a line of people waiting to come in.”
The pub was indeed filled throughout the day, with the four-sided bar handling lots of customers at every angle. The secondary tavern section was also full, and the dining tables – limited to about a dozen – were equally busy. The building is still under construction to complete repairs (“We’re moving through Phase I,” as the owner described the state of progress), so the patio remains closed and currently Minnesota’s is a cash-only establishment (and keep in mind: many of the area’s ATMs are still disabled, so be sure to stop before reaching West Beech Street for money if needed).
Minnesota’s will only be open from Friday thru Sunday for the next few weeks, but plans to return to its usual daily hours a month from now.
Long Beach is still a scene of intense damage, with many storefronts remaining boarded, and several shops in repair but obviously still some time away from returning to any sort of operation. Look more closely at the neighborhood, and aside from structural damage to homes and buildings, some area vegetation has turned a sickly brown color due to flooding – and along the shoreline the famed city boardwalk is being razed in order for rebuilding purposes. But at the corner of Minnesota Avenue and West Beech Street, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, men and women were walking in and out of Minnesota’s in great numbers, and the air was filled with the sounds of laughing, conversation and upbeat music. In that respect, while finding parking was not as famously difficult as it once was, this Sunday seemed a lot like many other Sundays used to be here, before the storm.
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