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Friday, August 12, 2022
Home Food Kelly’s Sea Level Scores Ink in NY Times

Kelly’s Sea Level Scores Ink in NY Times

In case you missed it, Kelly's recently scored a nice write-up in The New York Times that includes some of the history around one of Rye's favorite joints:

"Jerry McGuire, the co-owner of Kelly’s Sea Level in Rye, says that one of the reasons people enjoy the place so much is that it’s “homey.”…

For the McGuire family, the pale yellow building at 413 Midland Avenue is a home: Mr. McGuire’s daughter Mary Slater and her family live on one of the three floors above the restaurant, and Mr. McGuire and his wife, Martha, who owns the bar with him, live in the house next door…

The menu includes satisfying pub food at companionable prices. A consistently excellent char-grilled cheeseburger is $6. A small order of fries — which isn’t small at all — is $2. The onion rings crackle; so does the beer-battered cod that comes in a sandwich or in the fish and chips entree. There’s a simply seasoned shepherds pie that’s easy to finish and a number of salads, including a good one called Craisins and Greens with spinach, feta, walnuts, dried cranberries and balsamic dressing…

Drinks and food are delivered promptly, but no one is ever in a rush to leave. You tend to want to take up residence in a room where people have been gathering for more than 100 years (that includes a spell as a speakeasy).

The Niedringhaus family had a bar where Kelly’s is now and a German restaurant on the floor above in the early 1900s. Daniel Kelly, a lifelong Rye resident, grew up on the third floor and said that his grandmother, Kunigunda Niedringhaus, served dishes like sauerbraten to chauffeurs and laborers. (When police conducted raids during Prohibition, he said, they would be told that “a private family birthday party” was being thrown.)

The Sea Level space then had a long run as a bar called Wally’s Five Point Tavern.

Wally was Wally Signer, who pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 1943 and 1945. Other owners followed, though it retained the name.

Mr. McGuire worked as a bartender at Wally’s (he made the “fancy drinks,” like the gin fizzes), and when he bought it 39 years ago, he had work to do on a place that he said, using a vintage term for a rough tavern, had gained a reputation as “a bucket of blood.”…

And he added food. Mr. McGuire said that he learned to cook “on my mother’s knees” at the Post Road Market in Rye, which was owned by his parents (his daughter Mary and her husband, Matt Slater, are the proprietors of the store, now called Jerry’s Post Road Market)…"

Read the full review.


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