Flaherty’s Irish pub opens St. Patrick’s Day to rave reviews
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
Barry Spruce of Maryville wouldn’t think of traditional Irish food as his first choice for a meal.
However, he made an exception as one of thousands of patrons who packed the brand-new Flaherty’s Irish Pub Sunday afternoon for St. Patrick’s Day, which was fitting for its grand opening.
“I thought the restaurant was awesome,” Spruce said. “I had corned beef and cabbage, a traditional meal for St. Patty’s Day. It was really good. I called my wife and I told her how good it was, so I invited her and my two friends over.”
The pub, located at 1720 W. Broadway Ave. in Maryville, the former location of the Roaming Gnome, was named after owner Mark Brown’s mother’s family.
The 2,000-square-foot public area has seating for 110 in the dining area, 30 in the bar area and roughly 50 in the big patio outside.
The pub has about 30 employees.
Andrea Saylor, of Maryville, had a great first impression of the pub and said it was a big change and improvement from the Roaming Gnome.
“It’s a lot classier, and it’s more inviting,” Saylor said while she was waiting for drinks. “I like the privacy window between the bar and the eating area, so people who have kids don’t have to see people at the bar. It’s supposed to get the (electronic) trivia, so I’m really excited. Plus, they have great beer on tap. These people are making an effort to make everyone feel welcome.”
Brown, a Vonore resident whose sister, Marcia Denny, is an assistant manager, said he anticipated a big crowd, especially for St. Patrick’s Day, and was extremely pleased with the opening turnout.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a big day, so being an Irish pub, this is perfect,” Brown said. “People started gathering at 11:30. It’s just a great location. Maryville is a great city. People like to go out to eat, and this gives more of a variety compared to other restaurants.
“Our pub is a lot more authentic,” Brown said, when asked to compare his pub with other traditional Irish pubs. “Everything you see in here is from Ireland. Our menu is entirely authentic. The Guinness we serve is just like the stuff they serve in Dublin, of high quality and highly authentic.”
The pub features traditional Irish specialties, such as fish and chips, bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes), corned beef and cabbage, boxty (thin potato pancakes with your choice of filling) and Guinness steak and mushroom pie, but also offers standard American fare like steak, chicken, seafood and burgers.
Brown contracted with an Irish pub designer, Eddie Ormonde of GGD Global, and Irish business consultant Donal Ballance of Ballance Hospitality Solutions.
“In Ireland, we design Victorian-style bars that are a true reflection of Ireland itself,” Ormonde said. “If you go to Dublin, you will see this style of bar. Mark came to Ireland and came to our design studios and knew exactly what he wanted. I showed him some bars in Ireland. You can see a distinct color difference and he wanted to make it a lively area. All the elements together are a true Irish experience.”
Rose McDonald, who recently moved to Maryville from Ohio, was eating with her sisters Athena and Kelly, and basked in the glow of the new restaurant.
“It’s been great,” Rose said, while eating a burger. “It’s really good.”
“It’s fabulous,” said Athena. “I love my Guinness and corned beef and cabbage.”
“The food’s really good, and it’s got a great atmosphere,” added Kelly, who also ordered a burger. “This is the first time I’ve been out on St. Patrick’s Day.”
Ormonde said it wasn’t difficult to perfect the pub’s design.
“We have experience. My company has been doing this for 40 years,” he said. “I forget how many pubs we have in America, but it’s about 50. We’ve designed pubs all over the world — Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Europe, and into northern Ireland and everything in-between.
“We made suggestions, but we knew what he liked. Mark has a beautiful business. He needs to keep the quality of food, beer and the clientele. It’s going to be a very successful business.”