Corgans’ Publick House greeted customers Tuesday for its grand opening in a traditional Irish way: lots of laughs, food and beer.
A JMU ’06 graduate and co-owner, Katharine Corgan knows first-rate Irish cuisine. Her grandfather, Frank Corgan, was from Belfast, Ireland, and owned a produce company in Manhattan.
“I wanted to open a pub because it’s my favorite type of bar: cozy and inviting,” said Corgan, 27. “I also wanted to pay homage to my family, and there were no good Irish places around here.”
Corgan, along with co-owner Vito Pellerito, thinks their devotion to authenticity will distinguish them from other failing bars and restaurants in this economic decline and put them ahead of the rest. Corgan also used to manage L’Italia Restaurant and Bar.
The restaurant is designed to invoke the feel of a warm, rustic Irish pub.
A vintage street lamppost welcomes the customers to a lantern-lit atmosphere, with dark blue walls covered in old family pictures that complement the rich mahogany seating.
Totaling 90 seats, the layout encompasses an experience for anyone who wants to be a little Irish, with a bar, fireplaces, ample booths and private tables called “snugs.”
“It’s all about treating people right — quality and consistency with the food as well as the relationships among the people,” Corgan said.
The menu is extensive, and no matter what is ordered, Ireland is kept in mind. The menu has more than 50 entries ranging from a Guinness stew to traditional pub fare like fish-and-chips and cottage pie.
“Everything was awesome. I tried the ‘JAFC’ sandwich, which was filled with steak,” said self-proclaimed food connoisseur Jesse Sprung, an interdisciplinary liberal studies major. “The artichoke dip was out of this world with lots of real artichoke. I might have burned my mouth from trying to eat it so quickly.”
While Corgans’ offers 12 different beers on tap, it’s the five Irish beers (Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s, Bass and Magners Cider) that match the setting the best.
Senior finance major Kyle Wolfson got the full pub experience.
“We tried all the beers, and the wings were amazing,” Wolfson said.
Budget-conscious students can take part in happy hour specials Tuesday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with $2 select pints, $4 cocktails and $2 off all appetizers, pizzas and beer.
The restaurant will also host a variety of music events with Irish music on Sundays, performances by local singer Jake Daly on Tuesdays and various other musicians Thursday through Saturday.
“We’re not really interested in blowing the place up,” Corgan said. “We want to concentrate on the food rather than the overflow of people, a place where both students and locals feel at home.”
Source: Ben Goglia, breezejmu.org