By John Grossi
By John Grossi
As a Long Beach staple and one of the most popular Belmont Shore restaurants, Riley’s didn’t really need a reason to upgrade. Which makes it all the more impressive that they did.
Long-time owner Mike Ellis partnered with local golfing legend and recently retired PGA pro John Mallinger in late 2019. The two put together a business plan to build on Riley’s success over the last 15 years, and translate it into “the place to be” for the next 15 years.
The day after the first shutdowns in March of 2020, Riley’s on 2nd Street began a complete renovation and upgrade of its interior. A year later, as they hopefully prepare for the return of outdoor dining, the joint looks good.
All new floors, ceiling, tables, chairs, bar, TV’s, basically the entire inside has been upgraded to look and feel similar to the old Riley’s - just a little more modern and reflective of 2021. Combine the clean interior with a spruced up patio and parklet that they hope to keep, and Riley’s has highly desirable seating for everyone -- and lots of it.
Good thing- because what the real buzz around the Shore is about is their upgraded liquor license. After 15 years of serving beer and wine only, Riley’s has now added craft cocktails to their offerings, and the owners could not be more excited.
“People are really happy about it,” says Ellis, “And I think one of the most important things to explain is that we’re doing this the right way. Yes, we’re introducing craft cocktails but we’re still a restaurant first. We always have been and always will be. Anytime we’re open, we’re serving food and the cocktails are here to complement the food.”
“It’s the same with the remodel. We’re still here just to be a comfortable spot where guys and girls can come to eat, drink, and enjoy their friends and family. We just wanted to class it up a bit as we head into the next decade.”
The cocktails certainly class it up, and their food upgrades do as well. Riley’s is now toying with an upgraded seasonal menu that offers ever changing exciting food options, while still keeping their “sports bar” classics.
For John Mallinger, being a co-owner in Riley’s is a dream come true. He’s traveled the world, played every golf course, and even helped start the very successful clothing company Travis Mathew. Now he gets to be back home at the place where he always felt true community, and he’s ready to make Riley’s a home for everyone.
“Every time I was back in Long Beach the first thing I would do is call up my buddies and head to Riley’s. I’ve just always loved the atmosphere here.”
Learn more about the new Riley’s at www.rileyslbc.com and on Instagram @rileyslbc.