Bittersweet Sendoff To The Moroneys at RBQ’s Last Hurrah

 Bittersweet Sendoff To The Moroneys at RBQ’s Last Hurrah

By Kami-Leigh Agard

Since the spring of 2018, RBQ has been serving up barbecue, beats and bevvies, establishing Rockaway Beach Boulevard as Rockaway’s midtown weekend hot spot for locals and visitors alike. However, sadly this past weekend, John and Kellieann Moroney celebrated their last hurrah as owners of what has become a Rockaway staple. And with a jam-packed weekend of live music with popular local bands, The Rock-A-Wades, Mixed Bag and Gerald Bair from Friday, April 28 to Sunday, April 30—scores of patrons from near and far, came out to show their love for the Moroney family and their staff at RBQ. 

Located on Rockaway Beach Blvd., the Moroneys opened RBQ in a building that has an illustrious past. Longtime locals may remember in the 1980s, dining on pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs at Boggiano’s, The Tap & Grill Clam Bar next door and Playland amusement park across the street. Fast forward to the ‘20s, the Moroneys brought back the same excitement to Rockaway Beach Blvd.

However, RBQ is not just a restaurant and bar, it’s also an event space the Moroney family generously gave to community organizations and charities looking to host fundraisers and more.

According to John Moroney—who has a full-time job as a civil trial lawyer and also, heavily involved with the Ancient Order of the Hibernians-Division 21, which he helped to grow—it’s all about paying it forward. He said, “There’s a lot of organizations on the Rockaway peninsula that don’t have a home, don’t have a place to go, nor the facilities or the means to host functions. So, we thought it was a great way to pay it forward by allowing these organizations and people in the community to run events without charging them, so they could promote and develop their organization or charitable cause with hosting fundraisers, etc.”

Also, RBQ evolved into a premier spot for live music, hosting popular bands such as The Brooklyn Bards, Fools Night Out, Solshyne and more. For Moroney, hosting all these bands, and up and coming music artists, is something of which he is especially.

“We did a lot of good things here. We built into an area that had been desolate and abandoned for quite some time, specifically the building RBQ occupied. Also, we started pushing live music as they were very few venues at that time. We brought in a lot of different bands with different genres and gave a lot of people the opportunity to showcase their talents and ministry of music,” he said.

At RBQ’s last hurrah this weekend, many of the restaurant’s patrons expressed their love for RBQ and the Moroney family.

Rockaway native, Patricia Woods, whose family owned the old Irish Circle said, “It has been a pleasure being a patron of RBQ. I’ve been coming here since they opened, and it’s always been a great place to have fun with family and friends.”

Woods’ friend, Kathy, agreed, I’m sorry to see the Moroneys go. They took very good care of the community with all the charities they supported. However, I wish them the best of luck.”

As for why the Moroneys decided to pass on their ownership reins of RBQ to another local family, John Moroney said it was just time.

He shared, “In addition to running the restaurant and bar, both of us have full-time jobs. I’m a lawyer and Kellieann is a teacher. It became a lot to handle. So, we figured, let’s tone it down a bit and start enjoying other aspects of life.”

According to John Moroney, RBQ’s new owners are from Rockaway and he’s confident that they will continue to support the community as he and his wife have done for the past five years.

He said, “They’re wonderful people and I think they’ll be a great fit for the location and for the community overall. Note, we’re not closing yet as we’ll be running the business until the new owners get all the necessary permits approved.”

As for how he feels about passing on the reins of RBQ, which he and his wife Kellieann invested their heart and soul for the last five years, Moroney said, “I guess like with the end of a chapter in life, you ponder about it, but I know we had a great run, and we appreciate all the support and patronage that the community gave us over the years. We wish the incoming owners much success. And we ask that the community patronizes the new establishment once it starts because it’s going to be an integral part of Rockaway Beach. People need to support it and keep it thriving.”

On Saturday night, longtime RBQ patron, Lou Romas, toasted to the Moroney family’s new chapter. He said, “To John and Kellieann Moroney, you enjoyed a great run. I wish you a lot of luck and happiness, and I also wish the new owners much success as they serve and elevate Rockaway, like John and Kellieann have done.”

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