PHOTOS: Restaurateur expands portfolio with Irish eatery, pub in Matthews

     This Irish pub and restaurant is ready for its first St. Patrick’s Day.

Grace O’Malley’s Irish Public House opens its doors at 4 p.m. Friday and will operate throughout the weekend.

It will then mark its grand opening with a celebration next Thursday, with live Irish Dancers and bagpipes — and a portion of proceeds going to the Greater Matthews Local Family Network.

The restaurant is located at 157 N. Trade St. in Matthews. That location — originally a bank — was most recently Cafe 157.

“I believe every little town needs an Irish pub,” says Stephen Galligan, general manager.

Expect a modern twist on an Irish pub. Think family friendly but also a gathering place for friends.

“We’re catering to all walks, all ages,” he says.

It’s the fourth concept for Anthony Kearey, whose Mason Jar Hospitality Group is also behind Tilt on Trade, 204 North Kitchen & Cocktails and The Union.

Kearey estimates he’s invested just north of $250,000 to transform that second-generation restaurant space, which has been revamped. Think pressed tin ceiling tiles, pops of a muted olive green, custom-wood tables lacquered to a shine and touches of Irish-themed decor.

Rachel Kamen, managing partner at Mason Jar, is behind the design.

The 4,000-square-foot restaurant seats 94. There’s also an extensive patio outside.

“I can’t ask for more. It’s perfect,” Galligan says.

Franke Jones has curated a menu of Irish fare, where delicious and comfort food meet.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel by any means. We just want to give the best possible quality we can,” Jones says.

Appetizers include corned beef poutine, where thick-cut pub fries are topped with pulled corned beef cheese curds and a whiskey peppercorn sauce or fried brie, served with local fruit preserves and crackers.

There’s a mix of soups such as the chunky potato leek soup and salads like the berried and brie or a Southern cobb salad.

Sandwiches and burgers include staples such as the Irish Reuben, Irish grilled cheese — complete with Irish cheddar and bacon — or the Irish Breakfast burger topped with rashers, grilled tomatoes, caramelized onions, cheese and fried egg.

Entrees include Maureen’s Shepherds Pie — Galligan’s mother’s own recipe — corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips and Irish chicken curry.