Ex-Hooters owner opens Astoria sports bar

Bartenders work the lunch shift at Bud’s Ale House, which recently opened in Astoria. Photo by Karen Frantz
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Bud’s Ale House, a new restaurant chain that recently opened in Astoria and Fresh Meadows, may have taken some of its inspiration from Hooters. After all, its owner, Buddy DeMarco, also owns several of the evocatively themed franchise locations in Long Island.

But a Hooters in disguise it is not.

“What we took from Hooters was the opening concept,” DeMarco said, alluding to the American Grill-fare menu and a dazzling array of flat screen TVs — mostly showing sports — donning the walls. “And what we left at Hooters was the idea of a Hooters girl.”

DeMarco said as a Hooters owner, he found no one really understood the brand.

“Most people think it’s something different, they don’t think it’s a restaurant,” he said.

So with Bud’s Ale House, he wanted to focus on making it first and foremost a stellar place to eat.

“We want Bud’s to be about the food,” he said. “We’re a great restaurant to watch sports, but we don’t want to be known as a sports bar. We want to be known for our food.”

DeMarco recently opened Bud’s Ale House in Astoria, at 34-02 Steinway St., and also converted the Hooters in Fresh Meadows, at 61-09 190th St., which opened as a Bud’s last week.

The menu options are standard bar fare: burgers, hot dogs, quesadillas — but the dishes are more upscale than they might seem at first glance.

The hot dogs are made with franks from Karl Ehmer, the beloved local German butcher shop, and beef is delivered and ground fresh for hamburgers daily. Steamer pots full of seafood are also served, and Bud’s is equipped with 80 beer taps and also offers wine and variously flavored margaritas.

Angela DeLeonardis, general manager of Bud’s, said the staff had a specific idea of the food they wanted to offer and spent a long time searching out vendors fitting that vision. It took the staff months to find a vendor offering the right split-top buns for the hot dogs, she said.

In addition, DeMarco worked hard to find a spot for the Astoria location with a basement that would allow him to keep the kegs closer to the tap, which allows for a shorter run of the line between them, an innovation that creates a better pour.

“The shorter the run, the better the beer,” DeMarco said, saying it produces less foam and a cleaner pour.

But despite the emphasis on food and drink, the influence sports has on Bud’s Ale House is undeniable.

Bud’s has 57 high-definition televisions and shows every NFL game. DeMarco said televisions have small helmets denoting the teams playing attached to them so servers know where to seat people.

The attention to sports seems to be working. DeLeonardis said the New York Giants were playing the Sunday after the Astoria location opened, so “We were packed beyond what we thought we would be.”

Reach reporter Karen Frantz byåå at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Posted 8:09 pm, November 7, 2012
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Reader feedback

buddy smith from queens says:
You ruined hooters in li buddy...I'm thinking of changing my name from buddy now...although i do kind of like the ale house
Nov. 14, 2012, 12:18 pm
mark from malaga, spain says:
while visiting family in Astoria, went for a quiet beer in Buds, ended up having 1 quiet beer followed by 23 noisy beers had a great time cracking bar, good staff and food. I am a Brit and felt some comfortable ,will deffo be boozing in there again on my next trip.
June 10, 2013, 8:49 am
Vendor from Queens/LI says:
Buddy DeMarco and Strix Restaurant Group closed up shop and moved on while leaving invoices open with long time vendors and refusing to pay them. This is another example of greedy Long Island Restauranteurs leaving their obligations behind while they run off to the bank.

Aug. 19, 2013, 10:25 am
Buddy screwed in 2001 from NY says:
This guy has been doing this to vendors for a long time. A real sleaze
March 2, 2014, 11:36 am

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