Sophie Bolich

Italian Restaurant and Bar For Oakland Avenue

Former pizza restaurant and adjacent bar will become Dries Ristorante and Donnie's Pub.

By - Feb 2nd, 2023 12:50 pm
Site of future Dries Ristorante and Donnie's Pub, 2850-2862 N. Oakland Ave. Photo taken Feb. 2, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future Dries Ristorante and Donnie’s Pub, 2850-2862 N. Oakland Ave. Photo taken Feb. 2, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

A new bar and restaurant planned for the Upper East Side neighborhood will open with a built-in customer base — though future patrons may be more familiar with the owner’s paintwork than his pizzas.

Donnie Dries, of Dries Painting & Restoration, is venturing into the restaurant industry, with plans to open Dries Ristorante and Donnie’s Pub in the former Monster Pizza and Black Rose Irish Pub, 2856 N. Oakland Ave. The contiguous spaces total approximately 8,000 square feet.

Thomas Shea, a childhood friend of Dries, will act as chef for the upcoming restaurant, which will feature an Italian-focused menu of appetizers, pasta, sandwiches, salads, desserts and wood-fired pizzas.

Monster Pizza closed in November 2017, leaving most of its restaurant equipment behind in its departure, including two pizza ovens, said Dries.

Those will be put to use pumping out pies for future guests, who can also expect appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms, meatball subs and other Italian dishes.

In terms of alcoholic beverages, Dries said he plans to keep things “pretty standard,” with a lineup of beer, seltzers and mixed drinks.

Once open, the bar and restaurant expects to generate 55% of its revenue from food, 40% from alcohol sales and 5% from entertainment, which would include karaoke and DJs, according to Dries.

The establishment will also feature a 1,000-square-foot private VIP area.

Guests will notice an aesthetic change to both the interior and exterior of the buildings. Dries was previously contracted to restore the facade of Black Rose, during which he says he put his own twist on the black and gold design. The Irish bar closed in May 2018.

He also fixed the stucco, had a new roof and sewage lines installed and, of course, repainted.

“You’ll be able to tell that it’s a painting contractor that runs the place,” Dries said with a laugh. “We’re sprucing the place up. Are we tearing anything down? No.”

The restaurant’s formerly orange walls are now red, white and blue — the same as Dries’ company trucks.

For the women’s bathroom, Dries enlisted the help of a friend.

“She told me, she said ‘you know, all my girlfriends would go out and we take our pictures in the bathroom.’ So she’s got some really cool ideas,” he said. “The women’s bathroom may be cooler than the rest of the bar.”

For Dries, the restaurant business was an easy choice due to his existing client base, which he said totals more than a thousand. In addition to contracting, Dries offers snow removal services, which has occupied most of his time during recent weeks.

As a result, he’s aiming to launch the restaurant sometime in March, when the worst of winter is (hopefully) in the rearview mirror.

Liquor and entertainment licenses for the proposed bar and restaurant are awaiting Common Council approval.

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2 thoughts on “Italian Restaurant and Bar For Oakland Avenue”

  1. gerrybroderick says:

    That is welcome news for the neighborhood. The building has stood vacant far too long and had become a drag on the bustling Oak & Loc area. Welcome Mr. Dries.

  2. says:

    Can I get a cross with my pie?

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