December 5, 2018
Josie Kelly’s in Somers Point Holds Official Grand Opening
By: Maddy Vitale, SOMERSPOINT.COM | Somers Point News
A customer walking into Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point might feel as if he or she crossed over “the pond.”
Irish music fills the air, as people sit at communal tables, making it nearly impossible not to start a conversation with a stranger.
Waitresses and bartenders greet patrons with warm smiles. A rustic wood finish on the floors, bars and tables and a patina ceiling transform the rooms into an old-style Irish pub.
Dermot Lloyd, 44, and his wife, Kathleen, 35, of Linwood, who have three young boys, opened Josie Kelly’s on Aug. 15 to a very welcoming community, the couple said Tuesday night during their official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The support from Somers Point has been wonderful,” Dermot Lloyd said. “The business community, and the city, have been very welcoming.”
Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser attended the ceremony. He said the new establishment is close to his heart, because of his Irish heritage.
“It is wonderful to see them in Somers Point,” Glasser said as he spoke with the Lloyds and their business partner, Peter Kiernan. “Somers Point welcomes new businesses.”
Some features of Josie Kelly’s are live music, events, including whiskey and scotch tastings, a whiskey bar upstairs, a wide array of lagers and ales, a large room for functions and ample seating throughout.
The menu has a lot to choose from, from Irish fare to American cuisine. There is ample parking on the side of the restaurant and across the street.
Dermot Lloyd and Kiernan, 39, of Charlotte, N.C., decided to open Josie Kelly’s after the two met in 2015 and immediately became friends.
Lloyd is from Limerick, Ireland. Kiernan is from Dublin, Ireland. Yet the two entrepreneurs met, ironically, when Lloyd was managing pubs in North Carolina. Opening Josie Kelly’s, named in honor of Dermot Lloyd’s grandmother, has been a lot of work, but a venture, the two said, they are thrilled about.
“When we went in together, at first it was daunting,” Kiernan said of the new business venture. “But the welcoming response by Somers Point has been humbling.”
Lloyd said in choosing a location to open the business, one thing that attracted them was the positive response by Somers Point officials, including Glasser. The other reason, from a business standpoint, was the fact that establishments, such as the Anchorage Tavern and Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar, have been extremely successful in the community for many years.
While the Lloyds and Kiernan are settling in and creating a lively atmosphere filled with Irish music, dance and good food, Kathleen Lloyd said when they first opened in August it wasn’t quite the right time to have a grand opening.
“We had so much to do,” she said.
The Ventnor native and hairdresser, who met her husband when he came into her salon for a haircut, said they are really pleased with how improvements to the pub came out and love the community.
She flipped through her cellphone photos to show the transformation from several months ago when they began their journey into renovating dated décor left over from the former restaurant at that site.
“It has been a labor of love,” Kathleen Lloyd said with a wide smile.
October 22, 2018
Josie Kelly’s Public House
By: Marci Lutsky, Shore Local
Typically when I think of Irish fare, images of heavy meat dishes come to mind. When creating the menu for the new restaurant she opened with her husband, Dermot, Kathleen felt very strongly about wanting non-meat options to please both vegetarians and carnivores. One of their best selling dishes is the garden pie, and I can tell you from experience, it is worth the trip. I can’t imagine deviating from ordering this every time I go there. The vegan pie has lentils, carrots, celery, peas, leeks, thyme, gravy, and a savory mashed potato crust. It is vegan perfection. Vegetarians may also enjoy faux gras, a vegetarian take on foie gras made of cashews, shallots, beets, mushrooms, and vegan butter. Standard Irish far is plentiful on the menu such as bangers and mash, fish & chips and burgers.
So how did Kathleen and Dermot come to open Josie Kelly’s? Kathleen is a native of Ventnor and the couple was previously living in Atlanta where Dermot was overseeing two regional locations of RiRa, an Irish pub chain. Wanting to return to this area and open a place of their own, all the stars aligned when the former Sandi Pointe restaurant became available. Named after Demot’s Nana, Josie Kelly, the restaurant pays homage to where she came from in Adare, Ireland. Pictures of her hometown decorate the walls.
Josie Kelly’s is full of twists and turns. When you first enter, you will find yourself in a bar area with beautiful communal seating tables. Kathleen told me tales of how customers who don’t know each other often end up striking up conversations and sometimes even offering strangers a taste of their food. The bar area leads to another spacious room of seating. Upstairs is a hidden gem of a room soon to be a whiskey bar offering small tapas-like plates of food. On the main floor is a ballroom which is used for special events.
While some may ask why they opened towards the end of the summer, Dermot and Kathleen are perfectly fine with the timing of their opening because they are a neighborhood restaurant and pub, serving the year-round community as well as the seasonal customers. One thing you won’t find is a phone number for Josie Kelly’s. While this at first struck me as odd, Kathleen explained that they want patrons to walk in and be greeted by someone who is present and not on the phone. Obviously, without a phone, they can not accept takeout orders which may come further down the line. For now, if you want to try Josie Kelly’s you will need to dine in the restaurant. They are looking forward to participating in Somers Point Restaurant Week from November 2nd-11th. Also, keep an eye out for new happy hour drink and appetizer specials from 4-7pm during the week.
If you haven’t made your way over to Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point, what are you waiting for? Go for lunch or dinner or make it your meeting spot with friends. It’s such a breath of fresh air at the Jersey Shore and we are lucky to have it open. Josie Kelly’s Public House is located at 908 Shore Road and can be found on social media at @josiekellyspublichouse.
September 25, 2018
Josie Kelly’s Public House opens its doors in Somers Point
by Danielle Gomes, Atlantic City Weekly
With their hearts in the past and their minds on the future, Dermot and Kathleen Lloyd have created a pub that is worth a visit in the present. Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point is inspired by the pubs that Dermot grew up with in Ireland and named after his grandmother, Josie Kelly. “We want to show what Irish culture is all about and emulate the renaissance that is happening there right now,” Dermot says.
Josie Kelly’s Public House is the culmination of an authentic Irish culture with a modern dining experience. “This pub is very much a reflection of our personalities,” Dermot says. His Irish roots are evident, as is his vast pub experience. For the past 12 years, Dermot has been a regional executive with RiRa. “I came here as a J1 (an Irish work/travel program) in 2006 with RiRa and stayed with them for 12 years,” Dermot says. In that time, he also met his wife Kathleen, a South Jersey local. “I like to joke that there’s a his and a hers side,” Kathleen says. Adding that the pub side has darker finishes, lots of sports memorabilia and lots of TVs, while the dining room has lighter finishes and fresh flowers. Together, the Lloyds have created a place that is nostalgic, yet modern and inviting. “We wanted to create a place with something for everyone,” Kathleen says.
Culra (the history)
Located at the former site of Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (which was the former Mac’s Restaurant and Lounge), Josie Kelly’s Public House is the latest to occupy the historic building. The space dates back to 1908 and was originally a grocery store. “Mr. McGronicle (the actual spelling is up for dispute) bought it and turned it into Mac’s Clam Bar in 1926. Then the Previti family bought it in the early ’40s and continued to operate it as Mac’s until the ’90s,” Kathleen explains.
The Lloyds purchased the building in April of this year, completely renovated it, and opened Josie Kelly’s Public House on Aug. 15. In a matter of months, they have completely changed the interior. Everything is brand new; the beautiful new mahogany bars and custom woodwork draft features are an ode to traditional pubs in Ireland; the many big screen TVs are a great place to catch the game; and the tiled accents are modern and inviting.
But not everything inside is new. Grandma Josie’s clock, from 1856, hangs above the hostess stand. There’s an antique chandelier from the Boston Library in Josie Kelly’s Whiskey Room, along with Dermot’s uncle’s antique radio. Dermot even found a vintage Irish whiskey vending machine. Pictures of the building’s first publican (pub owner) hang on the walls, along with pictures of Josie Kelly, the Previti family and the building throughout the ages. “We really wanted to incorporate the history into the present,” Dermot says.
Josie Kelly’s features traditional Irish fare as well as classic American dishes and modern victuals. Dishes such as the lamb shank ($21), traditional Irish stew with a full lamb shank and potatoes, carrots, onions and celery in an herb broth; Margaret’s seafood chowder ($12) with house smoked haddock, Atlantic salmon, PEI mussels, potatoes, celery, carrots and garlic in a smoked bacon cream broth (Dermot’s mother’s recipe); the Dublin Lawyer ($27) with crab, shrimp, lobster and risotto in a whiskey cream sauce bring the flavors of Ireland to the table. Whereas, the chicken wings ($11) and the American burger ($11), a classic bacon cheeseburger with a Pat LaFrieda angus patty, are classic American bar food. Then, dishes such as the garden pie ($13), a vegan lentil, pea, carrot, onion stew with a mashed potato crust are thoroughly modern.
“Our menu is designed to change and to be seasonal,” Kathleen says. Explaining that in fall and winter stews and potato-heavy dishes will take center-stage. “That’s why our menus are paper on a clipboard, we want to listen to our customers and change with the seasons,” Dermot says.
“There is a very artisan culture in Ireland right now. Cocktail bars are opening up, which is surprising given that tipping is unusual within the Irish culture,” Dermot says. Explaining that bartenders are paid the same whether they simply pour a whiskey or meticulously craft a fresh herb cocktail. Irish bartenders are crafting new and unique cocktails simply for the sake of the art of it.
The drink menu at Josie’s reflects this. “I’m really excited about our hot cocktail program,” Kathleen says. A variety of Irish coffee and hot toddies will be featured including the orange oat toddy, with Irish whiskey, fresh-squeezed orange juice and topped off with whipped cream and toasted oats. “It tastes like a warm orange creamsicle,” Kathleen says
There are 14 beers on tap which include a combination of European imports and local craft beers, as well as an extensive cocktail and wine menu.
Agus Craic (and good times)
Josie Kelly’s Public House is very large, though the focal points emphasize the pub and the dining room spaces. Tucked upstairs is the elegant whiskey room, which will feature unique and rare whiskies, whiskey and beer pairing dinners and a slightly quieter, more intimate experience. The Dunraven Suite, named after the Inn that Dermot and Kathleen were married in, is a smaller dining space or meeting room that can accommodate 20. Finally, the Adare Ballroom (named after the town where Dermot and Kathleen were wed) can accommodate 200, with two bars, a dance floor and a stage and an optional 15-foot projection screen TV.
While Josie Kelly’s has several private events already booked in these spaces, they plan to open the areas for several public events. Get ready for the Halloween Ball on Oct. 27, held in the Adare Ballroom. And stay tuned for live music events, afternoon tea and more.