jimmy neary

Jimmy Neary, Owner of Iconic NYC Restaurant for More Than 50 Years, Dies

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jimmy Neary, renowned restauranteur and owner of his famed namesake Manhattan restaurant since 1967, has died. He was 91.

The Neary family confirmed the death Saturday of the man who had been a legend in the New York City food scene for decades. He passed away peacefully in his sleep.

Neary opened his now iconic pub at E 57th Street and 1st Avenue back on St. Patrick's Day in 1967. Diners could expect to find the owner at the restaurant nearly every day, greeting regulars and first-time patrons eager to feast on the famous lamb chops.

In a city where so-called "hot spots" come and go, Neary and his restaurant loomed large. Born in Sligo, Ireland, he became a definitive New Yorker who loved his city and country.

Like many other restaurants, Neary's shuttered its doors for well over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But when he reopened the doors in April, Neary had a sense that his beloved city was also ready for a comeback.

"I've seen [New York City] go down, I've seen it come back. I've seen it go down, I've seen it come back," he said. "And now we're on the rebound again."

Known for throwing himself an annual "surprise party" every Sept. 14, Neary was ever a generous host with a rich sense of humor.

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