August 8, By Hannah Wulkan
Ida’s Nearabout, a new restaurant and bar with a bluesy-southern vibe, is opening where Molly Bloom’s used to be at 43-13 Queens Boulevard.
While the bar is in a soft opening phase to start feeling out how everything will work, it will be fully operational starting the weekend of August 19th, said Paul Longo, who bought Molly Bloom’s in January along with his brother Westyn and Paul McDaid.
The bar was completely renovated over the past several months, and has a completely different layout, menu, and vibe, but “it’s similar in the sense of we love the neighborhood and the people who live here, and we wanted to keep it as a place for everyone to come together,” Longo said.
He added that they expanded the cocktail menu and will continue to serve craft beers. The food menu will have a “bluesy-southern undertone,” but will essentially remain simple and classic, with “a killer fried chicken sandwich,” Longo said. They also plan on serving a large brunch menu and late night snacks.
Most curious about the new bar is its name. Longo explained that his friend had a ranch in Montana, and there used to be a wolf that would pester their cattle. His friend’s mother loved the wolf and named it Ida, but one morning they found it dead on the property. To preserve it’s memory, she had it stuffed and eventually the stuffed wolf ended up in his friend’s apartment. Longo loves wolves, and when his friend was moving, gave him the wolf. Ida has now found a home watching over the bar.
“Nearabout” came from Longo’s love of blues music, which uses the word often to mean “almost somewhere,” he explained. The play on blues music, combined with the ranch legend of Ida, combined to create the rest of the décor for the restaurant, with lots of copper and Americana symbols.
Longo said that the soft opening has gone very well so far, and will continue for the next few weeks. All are welcome to come out, but the walls are still somewhat bare and the kitchen is not open yet, as they finish up working out the kinks.
“It’s personal, and it takes longer than it should and costs more than it should, but we wanted to create space that’s like a home away from home,” Longo said of his connection to the bar, and the process of renovating it. “We wanted to create somewhere where everyone is welcome, everyone knows everyone, and it’s just really homey.”