Donovan’s Pub in Woodside on the market: Employee

Famed Woodside pub Donovan's, known for serving some of the best burgers in the city, is up for sale.
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Donovan’s Pub, an Irish-American Woodside eatery whose burgers have often been called the best in the city, is up for sale, according to employees at the restaurant.

An employee said Joe Donovan, owner of the pub, at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave., is now 78 and wants to retire. He has declined media interviews until the sale is complete.

Donovan’s Pub, which opened in 1966, is one of many Irish pubs near the intersection of Roosevelt and Woodside avenues but is most famous for its burgers, which frequently land on Top 10 lists of best burgers in the city. Time Out New York put Donovan’s Pub at the top of the list in 2004. The most recent Zagat Survey ranking gave it 20 out of 30 for food, 15 out of 30 for decor and 18 out of 30 for service.

A listing on the real estate site Massey Knakal has the restaurant up for sale for $3.2 million. The ad says the restaurant will be delivered vacant to the buyer and that the buyer also will get a dress shop facing 58th Street, which has a lease expiring in 2013.

The ad describes the restaurant as “an ideal asset for a user, inventor or developer.”

Joe Donovan previously owned Donovan’s Grill and Tavern, at 214-16 41st Ave., but sold the Bayside restaurant four years ago and the two locations are no longer affiliated.

Donovan’s Pub in Woodside was in the news last year after it was temporarily shuttered by the Health Department after receiving 66 violation points during an inspection.

Jack Donovan, manager of the restaurant, said the restaurant had not been able to appeal the decision because city Health Department inspectors had come by close to the Fourth of July. The issue had occurred because of mold in its ice machines, not because of any contaminated food, but 200 pounds of ice needed to be thrown away. Jack Donovan said 45 restaurants had been closed temporarily that same week.

“All those other restaurants that got closed, they had no notoriety,” Jack Donovan said. “We took the brunt of it and we corrected the problem.”

Both Donovan’s Pub and Donovan’s Grill and Tavern currently have “A” grades on the Health Department’s website.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:32 pm, August 22, 2012
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Reader feedback

angela from woodside says:
horrible restaurant anyway -
Sept. 2, 2012, 5:32 pm

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