Comfort food: O’Niell’s is feeding the fight against COVID-19 with care packages for those on the front lines

Feeding the fight is the current focus of O’Niell’s Pub.

O’Niell’s recently began taking vegetable trays and meals to first responders and medical staff at Presbyterian Kaseman Hospital, PRESNow 24/7 Urgent and Emergency Care, and the Albuquerque Police Department’s Foothills substation. O’Niell’s also will be taking food to nurses at the COVID-19 testing center at Balloon Fiesta Park as well as Albuquerque Ambulance staff.

It is one of several restaurants in the area stepping up to help people on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

“They’re really grateful,” said Skyler Whitehead, O’Niell’s general manager. “There were a lot of folks that were excited to hear that O’Niell’s was bringing them some care packages because they enjoy our food, and it was a nice thing because we were recognized. They knew who we were, and they were happy to see us.

“We had a lot of good responses. I know these people are meeting some scary things every day, so I think it was exciting for them to see people caring and recognizing that they’re helping us out, and whatever keeps these people motivated to keep doing their jobs, that’s what we want to do.”

To help cover the cost of the food donations, O’Niell’s has partnered with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Upslope Brewing Co. Other contributing partnerships are expected in the near future. The food care packages have consisted of some of O’Niell’s popular sandwiches, including the Rob’s Reuben, turkey jack and BLT.

O’Niell’s is also in its own fight to survive while restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery and unable to open their doors to the public. Its Nob Hill location, 4310 Central SE, and its Heights location, 3301 Juan Tabo NE, remain open for takeout orders from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There are plans to offer online ordering, as well as delivery, in the near future. The takeout menu is available at oniells.com.

“We would be happy to do curbside takeout upon request,” Whitehead said. “So if folks don’t want to get out of their car, we will happily accommodate them and take their food out to them. We’re taking it a step further by processing credit card information over the phone and having a receipt for them to sign when they get here.”

O’Niell’s wants the community to know it remains open to satisfy the community’s pub food cravings, including sandwiches and burgers. The pub also continues to offer its popular lamb stew; fish and chips; shepherd’s pie; and its “bangers and mashed,” consisting of Guinness beef brats with mashed potato and mushrooms.

“We’re still here for the community, and we really appreciate the people that have supported us this far and during this time,” Whitehead said. “Our regular guests still come in and order their favorite things to go, and we appreciate that a lot. Most definitely, we see a lot of familiar faces and friendly faces every day. We’ve tried to keep as much serving staff. We’re so grateful for our regulars and customers coming in, even if it is just for a few minutes. We love seeing them and knowing they are supporting us.”

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