It was a roller coaster experience over the course of 10 days in March for Brian Downey and Bobby Cook, co-owners of Downey’s Bar and Grill in Riverdale.
On March 6 they led Fordham Prep to its first basketball city championship in 87 years, but by March 16 they were preparing to close their restaurant because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hurting even more, the owners were given very little notice that they would have to shut down their restaurant, with the announcement coming on the eve of their busiest day of the year.
“March 16th, we got word we had to shut the doors and really put a damper on our holy day of holy days of St. Paddy's Day being closed,” says Downey.
By May 9, Downey's was reopened for takeout and delivery, with a few alterations to their already delicious menu.
“We changed our steak sandwich to a regular Philly cheese steak, and that's flying out of the kitchen as well. Our biggest burger would be the bravest burger which would be bacon and cheese with both onion rings and fries and a side of chili, or the big dog burger named after the big dog right here, that's cheddar, onion, bacon, a little barbecue sauce with some fries,” says Cook.
Thanks to several generous donations, Downey’s has been able to provide food for front-line workers throughout the neighborhood. Acts made even more meaningful as Downey, who works for the FDNY, and Cook, the Department of Sanitation, are essential workers themselves.