Happy Member Monday! Since March is Women’s History Month, we are kicking off a new feature, Member Monday, with two incredible women who have made a positive impact on the Chestnut Hill community. Anne and Meg McNally, of McNally’s Tavern, have worked hard to preserve their family legacy and bring the historic restaurant into the 21st century.
McNally’s Tavern, a household name for many locals, has been a Chestnut Hill staple for over 100 years. Now run by sisters Anne and Meg McNally, their great-grandmother, Rose McNally, originally started the business in 1921 when she opened McNally’s Quick Lunch across the street from their current location. Around 1925, McNally’s Quick Lunch moved to 8634 Germantown Ave, where the family-run business has remained for over 96 years. With the invention of the Schmitter in the early 60s, McNally’s really earned their place on the map and has become a hub for locals and tourists alike.
Anne started working at the tavern part-time after graduating high school and quickly found she had a knack for running the restaurant. Back then, there wasn’t a menu or waitress, and tabs were tallied based on the honor system. Around the time Anne took over, she brought in her sister Meg, who quickly became invaluable to the restaurant’s success. Anne admits that without her sister and her dad, she could not have balanced raising a family and running the business.
The McNallys have worked hard to maintain the heart and tradition of the tavern while evolving it to grow into the 21st century. Since Covid, the tavern has been transforming more into a restaurant with shorter hours and the exciting addition of their new room which doubled their seating capacity and made things a little more comfortable all around. Meg worked hard to make sure the new room was functional while still maintaining the tavern feel of the original room, and boy, did her work pay off.
Anne and Meg note that the lifeblood of NcNally’s is their loyal customers, who helped keep them afloat during the pandemic by ordering takeout and gift cards. McNally’s has a whole host of regulars, some of who come multiple times a week and, at this point are ingrained in the restaurant’s history.
The meaningful memories that have been fostered behind its infamous green door have turned McNally’s into a destination where people come to celebrate, mourn, and remember their loved ones who once sat at the bar with them. Anne remarks that people come here to celebrate life and raise a glass. Whether it be a wedding or a funeral, it has become a meaningful gathering place in the community for many people.
Today, McNally’s remains a pillar of our business district, run by two hard-working sisters and an incredible staff. We are grateful to have Anne and Meg, who work hard for the restaurant and the entire avenue. “Our father understood that the future of Chestnut Hill is the future of McNally’s,” Anne states. Next time you’re in the area, stop by McNally’s Tavern for a bite, a beer, and to make some new memories.