The newest kid on the block at the former home of Cleveland PM is Murphy’s Ale House.
The last restaurant to occupy the space was Philomena’s, which didn’t have a very long life. Murphy’s looks the same, but with Kelly green walls and lots of Irish beer signs.
I’ve always thought the layout of the restaurant was interesting and inviting. It is divided into two seating areas instead of one huge room, which helps keep the noise down, especially when the seating capacity is 250.
The bar area is elevated and curvy. In addition, there is a great-looking private dining room seating about 70.
The new owner is Clevelander Jeff Pickett, who opened Murphy’s the day before Thanksgiving last year. Pickett also owns the popular Barley House in downtown Akron.
Naturally, the menu features an array of Irish favorites, plus Murphy’s take on other popular dishes.
Murphy’s offers a half dozen soups including chili. The big seller is Murphy’s robust beer-cheese soup ($5.79), which combines beer with a blend of cheeses that have simmered with chunks of onion. This soup arrives in a sourdough bread bowl, topped with green scallions and served with fresh-cut, seasoned chips. It was quite tasty. (It’s also available by the crock, but without chips.)
We were fascinated by the habanero balls ($6.75). Turns out they are classic sauerkraut balls made with ground pork, habanero peppers and chopped sauerkraut rolled in crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. The large basket arrived with Thousand Island dressing.
The Irish steak-and-potato wrap ($9.49) is a sizeable sandwich stuffed with tender strip-steak slices, fries, roasted red peppers, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and a three-cheese blend. Instead of the 12-inch tomato tortilla, we had it on a ciabatta hoagie. We enjoyed the flavors, but it is a knife-and-fork sandwich when served on a roll. The tortilla would have held the filling in place.
There is a choice of eight different rolls or breads for sandwiches. Sandwiches are served with a choice of fresh-cut chips or coleslaw. The chips are crispy, lightly seasoned and good.
The most popular of the nine entrees is Murphy’s house-made shepherd’s pie ($10.79), a specialty and well done by chef Rob Kovalak. The meat-and-potato pie is topped with a three-cheese blend and mashed red-skinned potatoes.
Irish fish and chips ($10.79) are also very popular. Hand-breaded flounder filets are served with fresh-cut fries and coleslaw. An all-you-can-eat fish fry is available Fridays for $8.95.
Of the more than a dozen salads, we picked the Reuben salad ($7.99, regular size). Romaine and spring mix are tossed with tomato, Swiss cheese chunks and house-made coleslaw. It’s crowned by a half dozen slices of corned beef and served with Thousand Island dressing. A hearty and good choice, the regular serving was ample.
There are four pastas. Shrimp scampi linguini ($12.99) is a good choice for a meatless meal. Linguini is tossed in a garlic-butter sauce and topped with peppers, onion, jumbo grilled shrimp and fresh herbs. It’s served with garlic bread.
The outdoor patio is being enlarged and will seat more than 200. Live music will be offered, and sand volleyball is planned. According to general manager Ryan Hartzell, the patio will be open by May with a full bar.