After 12 years in business, Eddie Ryan’s, an authentic Irish pub and restaurant, has become a destination in Lancaster, a place to go with friends and family to enjoy food, drink, and a warm, friendly atmosphere.
Although, the menu offers many traditional homemade Irish dishes such as the Irish pot roast melt and the Duchess of Ireland, an Irish beer and cheese soup, it also includes American style dishes mixed in with some Buffalo classics.
“My favorite thing on the menu is beer,” Ed Church, owner of Eddie Ryan’s, said jokingly. “I don’t have one particular favorite because we try to change our menu up, something we are going through right now. Our new menu is coming out in October.”
Throughout the years, Eddie Ryan’s has received numerous awards for its great food during the different townships tasting events. They were recognized at the Taste of Buffalo, receiving the chairman’s choice award; the Taste of Lancaster, receiving the people’s choice award, and at the Taste of Clarence, they won best entrée and also took home the Town of Clarence’s Supervisor Award.
“We won two of the five awards that were awarded during the Taste of Clarence,” said Church.
Church said he was told by a friend, Kathy Konst, that Lancaster needed a restaurant so he purchased the building, located at 50 Central Ave., in 2001. As a team, Church and his wife, who recently passed a way, renovated it and successfully grew the business to what it is today.
The Irish theme for the restaurant comes from Church’s mom’s side of the family and is named after his maternal grandfather. Church is also familiar with the restaurant industry having worked at and managed four different restaurants during the 80s and early 90s. He stepped away from the industry for a little while to become a full-time realtor. Currently, he operates the restaurant and sells real estate for Metro Homes and Land.
“[When it comes to the restaurant,] I set my standards high and try to make sure the quality of the food and the quality of the atmosphere are still relevant to what the economic conditions are,” said Church. “Even though, it has been difficult. I haven’t raised my prices because I know the public is struggling just as much as we are.”
And although Church said he is proud of the restaurant’s accomplishments, there were two difficult events in his life that caused him to look at things a little bit differently.
The first was in 2004 when the restaurant suffered substantial damage due to an arson fire.
“It was very saddening and it changed me because I was so grief stricken,” remarked Church. “I couldn’t believe somebody could do that after all the work and all the intensity that we put into trying to make this a good place.”
The second event in Church’s life was his wife’s battle with cancer, which took her from him.
“It took a lot out of me,” said Church.
Church added owning a restaurant is a seven day a week job, but family is his main focus and now that he is a single parent raising a teenager, he has to try to keep everything balanced.
Church said for those who decide to open a business and think it is going to be all fun and games. It is not. There may be good moments, but it is a struggle.
“You’re competing consistently with chains,” said Church. “My biggest thing, I have always said is support the locals because they are the ones paying the school taxes and giving the donations.”
He added that it is about finding your market niche and providing quality food and drink, good service, and a clean environment.
“I would say some success is due to trying to be humble. We aim to please and strive for perfection, but it is also knowing when something is wrong and trying to fix it,” said Church.
In addition, Eddie Ryan’s has an upstairs banquet room which seats up to 200 people and smaller banquet rooms available for those who need a place to host a shower or a wedding. They also offer off site catering.
Church said Eddie Ryan’s has become a destination in the Village of Lancaster and the opportunity to open a secondary location or move the business has been brought to his attention many times, but when it comes down to it, he said Lancaster is his hometown.
“We’re grateful for the support,” commented Church.
Source: Jennifer Lysiak, metrowny.com