Bill O'Donnell, owner of more than 45-year-old West Village restaurant Corner Bistro, died this week. O'Donnell, 80, created one of the city's most iconic burgers, launched to fame after a 1977 article from Mimi Sheraton in the Times. The burger, which once used meat from the once-flourishing Meatpacking District, turned Corner Bistro into an attraction, success that eventually prompted a new Corner Bistro outpost in Long Island City in 2012.
O'Donnell got into the restaurant business after returning to New York from a stint abroad with the army, according to an obituary and a profile in the WestView News. He took a bartending job at a bar, and when one of the owners of Corner Bistro wanted to sell his interest, O'Donnell jumped. "I wasn’t an innovator of any sort," he told the WestView News. "I just persevered. And, if you hang around long enough, good things can happen. The Bistro still represents something of the past and people like that. It’s reminiscent of old New York and it’s maintained its integrity." He passed away on Monday after a battle with cancer, according to an obituary notice. His wake will be held on Thursday at Redden's Funeral Home.
Death of Bill O'Donnell of Corner Bistro: a great loss of a wonderful citizen of the West Village. Doubt if we will see his likes again.— Mimi Sheraton (@mimisheraton) March 24, 2016