Frank Bonass of Kennedyville. owner of O’Connor’s Irish Pub, died Nov. 27 after a battle with cancer.
Bonass was a native of Dublin, Ireland, where he and his wife Betty owned several stores before moving to the U.S. in 1990, originally settling in Ardmore, Pa. After several other business ventures, they opened their first restaurant, Dublin Dock, in Betterton in 1997, featuring traditional Irish food, which Frank enjoyed preparing. Four years later, they opened a pub in Chestertown, naming it O’Connor’s after Betty’s maiden name.
O’Connor’s became a popular bar and restaurant, with a menu featuring fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Frank’s corned beef and cabbage as well as Maryland-baed items such as their award-winning crab bisque – and what many called the best pint of Guinness in the region. The restaurant’s cream of crab soup was again judged the best in the county this year in the Chestertown Rotary Club’s “Soup and Sip” competition.
St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated in style, with a countdown clock on the wall recording the days, hours and minutes til the next celebration. O’Connor’s was also a strong supporter of Democratic candidates, hosting fundraisers for former Gov. Martin O’Malley (donating Guiness) and election night parties for the Kent County Democrats. He and his son Frankie also did an annual coat drive for the needy – they were working on it together before he went into the hospital. The restaurant was also active in the Chestertown Bloomsday Festival, a celebration of Irish writer James Joyce’s Ulysses. The bar was popular with both locals and Washington College students.
Bonass is remembered as a kind, generous man who enjoyed long conversations with his customers, many of whom have posted their memories on Facebook.
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