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Donovan’s Pub in Woodside wins inaugural Queens best burger establishment contest

Photo courtesy of Anat Gerstein, Inc.

June 26, 2024 By Bill Parry

Donovan’s Pub in Woodside was declared the winner of the inaugural Queens’ Best Burger Competition by the Queens Chamber of Commerce on Friday, June 21.

The contest kicked off on Memorial Day weekend and asked foodies to nominate and vote for their favorite burger establishments in every corner of the borough, with the cornerstone of the Woodside community emerging as the champion.

Photo courtesy of Anat Gerstein, Inc.

“The votes have been tallied and Queens residents have made their choice, and we are delighted to honor Donovan’s Pub,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “Congratulations to Dan Connor and the entire team at Dovovan’s on winning this competition. This recognition is a testament to their commitment to serving up delicious versions of a summer staple. I suggest everyone go check them out.”

Queens Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tom Grech is flanked by Donovan’s Pub co-owners Dan Connor (left) and Jimmy Jacobson (right). Photo courtesy of Anat Gerstein, Inc.

Grech was flanked by Connor and his brother-in-law, Jimmy Jacobson, who grew up in the neighborhood and both worked at Donovan’s in their youth.

Donovan’s Pub. Photo courtesy of Donovan’s Pub

When the restaurant’s original owner, Joe Donovan, decided to sell in the summer of 2012 after 46 years, regular patrons grew concerned that the restaurant would close down for good when no buyer initially came forward. That’s when Connor and Jacobson decided to buy the bar in late 2012.

“We are honored to be voted Queens’ Best Burger,” Connor said. “We know that our borough is loaded with great restaurants, many serving up great burgers, so we are incredibly proud of our amazing team who truly make us a Woodside landmark gathering place.”

Located at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave. across the street from St. Sebastian’s Church, Donovan’s Pub was forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners feared they may have to shutter permanently until a regular patron launched a GoFundMe campaign, and Woodside residents responded by raising nearly $90,000.

Connor said the money went toward covering payroll and expenses such as rent, supplies and utility bills. The fundraiser was largely responsible for getting the restaurant back on its feet.

“We are also incredibly thankful to the amazing community who support us,” Connor said. “They are the reason we work so hard, why we push ourselves to evolve and why we better ourselves at every opportunity. This community means the world to us, and we will continue to do all that we can to be a comfortable place to meet and enjoy quality food and drinks.”

Before he ran for public office, Assemblymember Steven Raga was the executive director of Woodside on the Move. “Donovan’s Pub is a true Woodside staple for both its food and role in the community,” Raga said. “Congratulations to Dan Connor and the Dovovan’s Pub team on winning the Queens Chamber of Commerce inaugural Best Burger Competition. I’m looking forward to them holding this title for many years to come.”

Ryan’s Irish Bar and Grill in Bayside was the runner-up and Acey Ducey’s in Forest Hills finished third. All three restaurants are in Congresswoman Grace Meng’s district.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate Donovan’s Pub for winning the top spot in the Queens’ Best Burger contest,” Meng said. “I also commend Ryan’s Irish Bar and Grill and Acey Ducey’s for coming in second and third place. All three are located in my congressional district, underscoring how some of the best food in our borough exists in areas that I’m honored to represent.”

Meng also thanked the Chamber for highlighting the vital role that restaurants play in the borough’s economy.

“The World’s Borough isn’t just the proud home of outstanding international cuisine. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best American classics, like the burger,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “It must be in the name because it’s hard to find a more delicious or juicy burger than the ones they serve at Donovan’s Pub in Woodside.”

In total, 12 establishments were nominated for the contest. After nearly 3,000 votes were tallied, Donovan’s Pub was named the winner.

“District 26 is known for some of the greatest food in Queens, including this newest title of best burgers at Donovan’s Pub,” Council Member Julie Won said. “Congratulations to this Woodside institution for winning. Small businesses are cornerstones of our neighborhoods. I encourage my neighbors to support local restaurants and try the top burger in the borough.”

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