Showing posts with label Mary O's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary O's. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Scone mania: At Mary O's, an Irish blessing and 20,000 pounds of self-raising flour

Photos by Stacie Joy

As you may recallHumans of New York featured Mary O'Halloran, the proprietor of Mary O's, the 11-year-old Irish pub at 32 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street, in early August. (Here's her story, courtesy of Brandon Stanton, about 
trying to keep her business alive while also caring for her six children.)

On a Thursday evening in August, Stanton followed up with a special promotion — the limited edition Mary O's "HONY" Irish soda bread scones. Stanton shared the deal with his more than 20 million social media followers worldwide. According to an Instagram post from Stanton, they took in more than $1 million in orders for scones by the end of the night.

Impressive, but there were some immediate logistical concerns. Such as! How to bake roughly 200,000 scones from Mary O's small kitchen.

There is a solution: Over the next two months, O'Halloran and some helpers will use the large ovens in the basement kitchen of St. Francis Xavier Church on West 16th Street to create these orders.

Fast forward to early last week, when 20,000 pounds of self-raising Irish flour was delivered (via Dublin) to Mary O's. To start the project, "the flour was infused with an Irish blessing by Mary herself, in an ancient ceremony featuring electric candles," as Stanton wrote in a Facebook post. (You can watch a video of the ceremony on Facebook.)

EVG contributor Stacie Joy stopped by Mary O's to watch part of the flour-blessing ceremony...
The next steps will include packing up boxes of scones for delivery and preparing the 7,000 pounds of homemade blackberry jam to accompany them...

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Thanks to Humans of New York, Mary O's will be making scones for the foreseeable future

Last week, Humans of New York featured Mary O'Halloran, the proprietor of Mary O's, the 11-year-old Irish pub at 32 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street. There's an incredible ending to this story, so allow me to bury the lead.

First, here's her story (Facebook here) courtesy of Brandon Stanton about the bar closing at the start of the pandemic in March 2020:
We got shut down two days before St. Patrick's Day. Always the biggest day for an Irish bar. My husband is a longshoreman, so he was trapped in the Aleutian Islands for nine months — no flights out. It was just me and six kids that needed homeschooling. I pulled all the furniture out of the bar, and made a section for each of them: pillow, blankets, everything they needed. 
Then I had to figure out how to survive. Other bar owners were just throwing up their hands, but I had to try something. I began catering dinners for emergency workers at a nearby hotel. It wasn't much money, but it was something to do. Each night I'd cook dinner for thirty people. The kids would help when they could: peeling potatoes, washing dishes. But I'd be so exhausted every day. Everyone had so much faith in me to survive. Maybe because I keep the tough side out — everyone assumed I was OK. Nobody knew I was full of worries. But it was so freakin' hard. To keep the kids happy. 

Month after month I'm falling further behind on the rent. It felt like the walls were closing in. But my regulars kept showing up. They ran errands for me. Sometimes they'd take the kids on walks to give me a break. There was a group of Irish musicians who would play here every Thursday night. They helped me set up an online store so that I could sell scones to the music people. Soda bread scones with homemade blackberry jam. My mother’s recipe from back in Ireland. Really, it's the simplest thing — but all six of us kids used to line up for them. In January a reporter named Roger Clark from NY1 came to do a story on the bar — about how I've been running it all alone, with my kids. 

And that angel, he had the anchors taste a scone live on TV. It created big scone hype for a few months. It wasn’t a ton of money. I was only making $1,800 for 100 boxes of scones. It wasn't paying rent or anything. But it was something to do, you know? I finally found something that was working. People were writing notes, saying: 'I gave these to my grandmother, and she loved them.' It was the little bit of light that I needed. It pulled me forward. I didn't feel alone anymore. It was like: 'Oh My God, there's something out there.'"
Stanton followed up with a special promotion last Thursday night during her usual Irish music night — the limited edition Mary O's "HONY" Irish soda bread scones for $30. Stanton shared the link to his more than 20 million social media followers worldwide.

By the end of the night, according to an Instagram post from Stanton, they took in more than $1 million in orders for scones. He took her to a quiet table to give her an update.
She allowed herself a brief, joyful cry. Then she asked: 'I can do this, right?' I told her: 'Of course.' Because every one of those orders came from people who want the best for her. And I felt confident that we'd all be patient while she figured out a new process for making scones. Mary has a great team around her. She refers to them as ‘The Regulars’ as if they’re a squad of superheroes, but they’re actually longtime customers who transform into volunteers at a moment’s notice. 

... With this support group, and her own business experience, Mary has all she needs to deliver 25,000 boxes of delicious, blackberry-jam-smothered, blessing-infused scones. It's just going to take some planning. And some time. Our goal was always to help with Mary's burdens, not add to them. She will deliver the scones as fast as she can. And things may fall into place rather quickly.
In July, a feature in his ongoing storyteller series on Dress Shoppe II owner Saroj Goyal inspired an outpouring of support for the Indian boutique on Second Avenue.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A St. Patrick's Day moment at Mary O's

Mary O's, the 11-year-old Irish pub at 32 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street, is a good spot for St. Patrick's Day... EVG contributor Stacie Joy spotted proprietor Mary O'Halloran in the kitchen prepping for the day...
... and a few MO fans outside...
Mary suggests calling ahead today for any pick-up orders: (212) 505-5610. 

This post from January has more information about her Soda Bread Shop ... as well as the shepherd's pies that she makes for city agencies to share with residents in need.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

There's something about Mary O's

Mary O's, the 11-year-old Irish pub at 32 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street, is currently closed during the pandemic.

However, proprietor and EV resident Mary O'Halloran remains busy in the kitchen.

As Roger Clark reported at NY1 this week, O'Halloran is making Irish soda bread scones based on her mom's recipe from County Mayo, Ireland, and selling them online. Patrons can also purchase a shepherd's pie, and she will deliver it to one of the city agencies feeding those in need.

Per NY1:
"I'm not making money, absolutely no way, but it creates a vibe with people between the community and my own regular customers," said O’Halloran.
NY1 notes that the tireless O'Halloran is doing all this all the while taking care of her six children, ages 8 through 17.
It's O'Halloran's nature to keep moving and working. Her husband is a longshoreman who is often gone months at a time, so it's a lot to juggle, but she refuses to let Mary O's shut its doors. 
"My gut feeling tells me that I can survive. I just have to keep going, you know?" said O'Halloran, who added, "It's really, really hard, but I can't give up. Do you know what I'm saying? I just can't."
You can order the scones or shepherd's pie via the Mary O's website here.

EVG file photo

Saturday, May 9, 2020

East Village crowdfunding update

We've added about 15-plus East Village businesses to our list of crowdfunding campaigns. (First posted on April 13: Find the link here.)

One addition arrived this week for Mary O's, the Irish pub on Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street.

Here's part of the campaign, via the Friends of Mary O's Committee to Keep Local Hospitality Alive:

Along with every other bar and restaurant in NYC, Mary O's has been economically devastated by COVID-19. While owner Mary O'Halloran's customers are missing her authentic, heartfelt "local hospitality" and she cannot for the time being host the birthday and anniversary parties and myriad school functions for which she's famous, Mary continues to do so much for the community — sewing masks, making meals for first responders, the list goes on.

It goes without saying that the financial hit has been brutal, and (astronomical) rent still needs to be paid. Mary would never serve us again if she knew we were doing this, but we'd like to ask you to consider contributing to the Mary O's fund, so that when this is all over — who knows when? — there will be a Mary O's to return to. To have Mary build us a Guinness, celebrate our kid's graduation, gratefully tuck into a shepherd's pie or make a milestone birthday a night of festive fun. And maybe — finally! — win a round of Drag Queen Bingo.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Materials needed for mask-making at Mary O's on Avenue A

Friends and family of Mary O's, the pub at 32 Avenue A between Second Street and Third Street, are making masks to donate to people who may want or need them. They are asking for any donations of 100-percent cotton clothing or material (unused) ... you can drop the materials at the bar.