When Eugene Gillespie left Ireland to visit his brother in New York in 1972, he didn't know that he would be inspired to stay. The Irish economy was down, so Eugene decided to pursue the American dream by moving to the Mid-Atlantic region. He didn't leave Ireland entirely behind him though, and Eugene proceeded to spend the next several decades opening traditional Irish pubs and restaurants throughout New York and New Jersey.
With two locations, Blackthorn Restaurant & Irish Pub demonstrates a commitment to the flavors of Ireland. The menus feature familiar comfort foods—certified Angus burgers and thin-crust pizzas—including a number of Irish favorites, such as beer-battered fish and chips and stews filled with Guinness-braised beef. To achieve an even more authentic taste, the chefs occasionally import ingredients such as Irish cheddar cheese, Irish sausages, and Irish rainbows.
The menu's iconic dishes contribute to the pubs' cozy, inviting ambiance almost as much as accents such as the stone fireplaces or the bar made of imported red mahogany. Spirits remain lively and the mood stays festive thanks to the live entertainment hosted throughout the week. Live bands perform contemporary hits as well as traditional Irish songs.
((Boom)) Burger's staff angle to put their restaurant on the map in a variety of ways. First, they put a twist on the classic burger, infusing Angus beef patties with cheesy fillings that burst open with each bite. Next, their bartenders make like mad scientists and mix beakers full of brightly colored, fruit-flavored drinks known as Boomerangs that come in giant servings of up to 38 ounces. Between all of the barstools and tabletops the eatery can host up to 300 people all set aglow by 40 high-definition televisions. This means that even at maximum capacity, there’s one screen for every seven and a half people, so you can always catch your game of choice, be it baseball, soccer, or commercial judging.
With its dining room, pub with live music on weekends, seasonal patio, and two private banquet rooms, Rolf's Restaurant offers patrons multiple ways to enjoy a meal or grab drinks within the same space. Private banquet rooms include the Sun Room, with airy windows that let light flood in and keep pet cacti happy while diners relax at four-seat linen-clad tables, and the Warren Room, where purple chairs, matching walls, and regal curtains glow in the light of chandeliers whose shapes mimic flower petals.
The restaurant’s aesthetic elegance extends to the menu, which has enjoyed a rebirth thanks to a new executive chef, Glenn Arnold. A Rolf’s veteran for nearly a decade, Arnold left the establishment to hone his gourmet talents at The Culinary Institute of America. With his victorious return, the chef adds a new twist to old standbys and devises new items for the menu while endlessly looping "Eye of the Tiger" over the kitchen speakers. Diners can now savor a selection that ranges from traditional German specialties such as kasespaetzle, jagerschnitzel und pommes, and sauerbraten to more casual fare, such as gourmet sandwiches and pizzas.
With an NFL champion like Tony "The Goose" Siragusa as co-owner, one might expect Tiffany's Restaurant and Bar to show only football. But the eatery's 20-some high-definition flatscreens—extending all the way onto a heated outdoor patio—display everything from basketball and hockey to UFC. The entertainment at Tiffany's isn't all onscreen—throughout the week, events include sets by local DJs, karaoke nights, and Texas hold 'em tournaments.
Founded over 30 years ago, Tiffany's chefs still baste the eatery's award-winning ribs in house-made barbecue sauce, and make meatballs by hand before tossing them with imported Italian pasta. The restaurant has also updated the menu with new, creative twists on bar food and 25 varieties of wings and sauces, such as buffalo wings coated in wasabi sauce. To pair with it all, there are plenty of beers poured from the tap, served in a bottle, or sprayed directly into your mouth from a Super Soaker.
An island of wooden shelves buds from the dining room's floor, displaying draft-beer taps, glinting rocks glasses, and flat-screen TVs alive with sports. Nearby, plates of grilled paninis, buffalo wings in 15 flavors, and fish ‘n' chips clatter onto a polished bar and lacquered tables, drawing nervous glances from collectors of mint-condition napkins. Clevelands Tap Room's newly revised menu includes time-tested pub fare with a few adventurous accents in the form of pickled ginger and wasabi mayo on ahi-tuna burgers and grilled pineapple on pizzas with homemade sauces. If patrons find themselves in the bar on the right night, they can enjoy NFL Sundays, team trivia, or bean-bag-toss tournaments.
Dugout Pub South tempts appetites with slow-cooked, smoked ribs, thin crust pizzas crowned with clams or deep-fried calamari, and more than 25 burgers made with 8-ounce Angus beef patties and toppings such as blue cheese, banana peppers, and house-made chili. Inside the dining area, four dartboards, a shuffleboard table, and flat-screen TVs entertain patrons sipping libations from the full bar, which features 20 different brews on tap. Live entertainment includes DJs, bands, karaoke, and wandering minstrels, tickling the ears of customers in the dining area or outside on the tiki deck.