OPINION

An ode to O’Malley and McGee’s

Ronna LawlessStaff Writer
An ode to O’Malley and McGee’s

It’s Cinco de Mayo today. If Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by Hallmark, this is a holiday invented by Jose Cuervo.

Actually, I made that up. The holiday celebrates the victory of Mexico over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. But that’s not what’s on my mind when this time of the year rolls around.

What’s on my mind is O’Malley and McGee’s.

I can hear you now, having read those words. I can hear you sigh and agree longingly. Oh, how I miss O’Malley and McGee’s.

I’m not even sure how many years it’s been since the closing of the upscale Mexican restaurant with the Irish name. But I remember entering that heavy door to the bar for happy hour like it was yesterday. Coming in from the bright afternoon and summer heat to the cool darkness of the bar was like entering an oasis.

The margaritas with the salty rims. The crisp, freshly-made tortilla chips, delicious salsa. It was my favorite place to be happy in the hours after work.

Ames and Story County have plenty of good places to go for Mexican food. But since the loss of O’Malley and McGee’s, we are missing a restaurant for Mexican fine dining.

The menu at O’Malley’s was lovely. My favorite entrée was the Algo, which was two seafood enchiladas. One was full of plump shrimp and the other had tender crab meat.

Sigh.

Time spent on the patio there seemed to pass in an instant. What seemed like an hour was more likely three.

It was the perfect place to go after my son’s high school football games on Friday nights. Whether we were celebrating or nursing our wounds, the margaritas there always hit the spot.

When my husband came home from a year of shock and awe in Iraq, O’Malley and McGee’s was the first place we went on a date. A year in the desert seemed to be washed away by a pitcher of margs and a great meal.

Sigh.

Although we aren’t together anymore, he and I would still meet for a friendly pitcher there in a heartbeat if we had the chance.

We’re not the only ones. Every once in a while on social media, I notice someone else waxing rhapsodic about O’Malley’s.

There’s a Facebook group called “We Miss O’Malley and McGee’s.” I visit it sometimes when I’m particularly nostalgic for my favorite restaurant.

And somehow, I hold out hope that someday, somewhere — hopefully far from potential flood waters — there will be that old familiar sign hanging on a restaurant in Ames again.

Sigh.

Ronna Lawless is a writer for the Nevada Journal and Tri-County Times. She can be reached at rlawless@nevadaiowajournal.com.