Everyone’s Irish at Finn McCool’s

Friday, 30th Sept, 2011

Can an Irishman, or for that matter, an Irish pub, have a better moniker? The name actually derives from “Fionn mac Cumhaill” in Old Irish, the blonde hunter-warrior of Irish myth and legend, the English version of the name being “Finn McCool.” And it is the name of a large, national chain of traditional Irish taverns.

Finn McCool's is in an Irish pub chain, with a restaurant, locally, in Ambler. Credit Mitch Davis

The Finn McCool’s in Ambler is one of the more recent additions to the franchise, and further enlivens Ambler’s bright entertainment and restaurant scene. It is housed in a huge, historic old stone building right on the main drag. It has some outdoor tables with umbrellas right out front. Inside, it is all classic pub, all in Kelly green and varnished woods, hardwood floors and, of course, a large central bar offering cold drafts and drinks.

Anyone with any Irish in them, real or wannabe, will feel at home here, either at the square bar or at one of the many well-spaced tables.

While McCool’s large menu features a few good ol’ Irish favorites like Shepherd’s Pie and Gaelic Steak made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, it is filled out with many more American pub standbys, among the appetizers (“Pub Grub”), soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, very good cheesesteaks and burgers, wraps, pastas, and platters – all reasonably priced. There is even a small kid’s menu, so children are welcome.

Since it opened, I have made both a lunch and a dinner visit, each time with three or more dining companions. All the dishes both times were more than satisfactory, well-portioned, and tasteful.

My salad and my tablemates’ hamburgers and cheesesteak picks were excellent, fresh, juicy, and most savory.

The grilled Gulf shrimp and baby spinach salad ($12.45) was completed with roast red pepper, hard-boiled egg, tomato, crumbled bacon, and wild berry vinaigrette. (It also comes with provolone cheese, which I eschewed). I loved the combination of these ingredients, and made a very happy plate.

The burgers are made with a half pound of Angus beef ($6.95), which looked really delicious, and served with lettuce, tomato, and onion on a fresh bun. You are invited to “name your own burger” by adding from a choice of five cheeses, and four toppings. Add fries for an additional $1.75.

Homemade crab cakes are featured in three of the eight entrees and in a sandwich which should mean that they make them especially well. One is served alongside a NY strip steak for $22.95. The crab cake sandwich for $12.45 sounds like a bargain, and I may have to try one next time.

Overall rating: mmm 1/4 (out of 5 m’s) classic Irish pub chain, good menu at reasonable prices.

Location: 34 E. Butler Pike

Phone: 215-643-2705

Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Prices: Appetizers, soups, salads $4 – $12.50; sandwiches, burgers, wraps $6 – $8.50; entrées, pastas $10.50 – $23, (average $14)

Ambiance: Classic Irish pub.

Reservations: Suggested on weekends.

Credit cards: All major accepted

Alcoholic beverages: It’s a tavern.

Wheelchair access: Yes

Special features: Ealy Bird specials, Happy Hour Monday – Friday.

Source: Mitch Davis, horsham.patch.com

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