July 10, 2020
These Jersey Shore restaurants are getting outdoor dining right.
By: Craig LaBan, The Philadelphia Inquirer
This Irish powerhouse has gone parking lot pub in a big way. And while it’s impossible to replicate the vintage decor and 350 seats built into the Gaelic rehab last summer of the old Mac’s Seafood in Somers Point, the fake grass beneath the tented tables beside Josie Kelly’s Public House is green enough to still draw hundreds of diners a night.
Despite those crowds, owners Kathleen and Dermot Lloyd have done a fine job maintaining table space and line management, and putting contact-free logistics in place so you can sip that refreshing Pimm’s Cup or creamy draft of Guinness from a proper social distance. The tawny beer-battered fish and chips hasn’t lost its textbook crisp.
But this summer’s true bonus is new chef Michael Brennan, the young star between versions of his Cardinal Bistro, who’s brought culinary ambitions and a lighter touch. Yes, the classic shepherd’s pie is still great. But dishes like grilled halibut over red pepper relish with a minted pea sauce, or the “Fab Cakes” that offer a satisfying vegan twist to crab cakes with hearts of palm and artichoke stuffings over succotash, show there’s potential to explore a more contemporary pub personality.
I’m sorry I just missed the new grilled lobster over curried carrot puree. But I devoured enough Irish chocolate cheesecake and buttery Craic pie to know I’ll be back. (”Craic” is Irish for “good times.”) No matter when that is, or if we’re still dining in the parking lot, I hope Brennan’s fresh influence lingers.
July 5, 2019
Shore Restaurants, Part II:
Miles off the coast, inland gems thrive for a different crowd
Somers Point – Josie Kelly’s Public House
By: Craig LaBan, The Philadelphia Inquirer
There’s a likely reason I’ve never reviewed an Irish pub at the Shore in two decades of coverage. As much as I love a good shepherd’s pie, creamy bowl of chowder, or beef stew in winter, traditional pub cooking trends a bit heavier than the lighter fare I crave at the beach. Then again, rarely have I found it executed with the kind of no-shortcuts finesse and quality I encountered at the relatively new Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point. And to be honest, there is no wrong season for a pint of Guinness poured with the skill displayed by these publicans. Working the tap handle like a stick shift over the course of several minutes, they have the patience and technique to coax that dark brew through its slow-motion cascade into a 20-ounce draught of malty blackness topped with a creamy dome that quivers above the rim.
There’s little doubt the concept resonates with the public, which has thronged enthusiastically to this sprawling 260-seat bi-level space, which opened last August after handsomely rehabbing the building that once housed Mac’s Seafood. And the appeal is more than just its ample parking lot. Owners Dermot (once a manager for the RíRá chain) and Kathleen Lloyd have turned to his childhood roots in County Limerick for inspiration on the menu. It features several recipes from his mom, Margaret Lloyd, a culinary teacher in Ireland. The fresh-baked brown bread that comes to the table is one of those, and so is the creamy seafood chowder, a hearty bowl that’s cooked fresh to order with smoked mackerel, haddock, shrimp, potatoes, and mussels and plenty of fresh herbs.
Dairy richness is ever-present here, especially with crowd favorites like the Dublin Lawyer, a seafood risotto in Irish whiskey cream sauce. So is crunchy pastry. A tawny pie crust seals the crock of Margaret’s beef stew, soulful with a rich stout gravy. The sausage rolls aren’t much to look at, but they were delicious, with fresh ground sausage and sage-scented apples rolled inside flaky puff-pastry tubes.
For more affordable sandwich options, there’s a wide selection of burgers made with Pat LaFrieda patties; the Reuben is built on good house-cooked Irish corned beef. A roasted salmon over farro risotto glazed in Earl Gray tea proves chef Rich Semonchik has some modern moves, too. But this place specializes in pub traditions, and the excellent fish and chips, a fillet of fresh haddock inside a golden crust made from Harp beer batter, does the genre proud.
For dessert, rice pudding crême brulée is on theme, albeit a little dense. But with 100 whiskies behind the upstairs bar (certainly one of the largest collections at the Shore), I’d head straight for a dram of Connemara or Knappogue Castle. Or at least the proper Irish coffee, a glass cup of java spiked with Tullamore Dew that Kathleen carefully layers with a cool head of whipped cream, shaken to thickness in a Mason jar then poured over a hot spoon. Once the summer crowds and A/C-chilled nights come and go, this pub will no doubt still be pouring plenty of them for grateful, thirsty locals cozying up to blazing fires with their chowders, pints, and pies. Josie Kelly’s Public House, 908 Shore Rd., Somers Point, N.J., 609-904-6485; josiekellys.com
April 22, 2019
Josie Kelly’s St. Baldrick’s event raises $30,000 to fight pediatric cancer
By: The Current
The evening’s emcee was Lisa Erlandson, who was the first-ever host of a St Baldrick’s event in New Jersey. Through her efforts, Erlandson has raised thousands of dollars to help beat pediatric cancer. She is inspired by her son Matt, who is a cancer survivor.
Hosts Dermot and Kathleen Lloyd of Josie Kelly’s set a goal of $20,000 to be raised from the event. The couple reported they “smashed” that goal and the total amount raised was over $30,000 and still climbing thanks to all who supported and continue to support the event.
February 8, 2019
Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point to Host Event and Raise Money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation
By: OCNJ Happenings
It’s wonderful when a local restaurant opens and offers excellent food and drinks for the public to enjoy. It’s even better when that restaurant supports the community and wonderful causes by hosting exceptional events, such as what Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point is doing with their St. Baldrick’s Foundation event
The team at Josie Kelly’s Public House recently announced that they would be raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation in the coming weeks and will complete this fundraising effort with a special event on Wednesday, April 17, from 5–8 p.m. Individuals can sign up for a fundraising team, raise money and then have their head shaved at the event on April 17. Other ways to help out include making an outright donation, volunteering and attending the event in mid-April.
Whether you donate online, volunteer for the event or shave your head on April 17 for a great cause, you are helping children in their battle with cancer and making a difference more than you could possibly imagine.
Keep checking back to OCNJ Happenings for further details as the event date approaches and visit the Facebook page of Josie Kelly’s Public House for additional information and updates.
Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point to Host Event and Raise Money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation
January 22, 2019
Over the Bridge: 5 Great Reasons to Visit Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point
By: OCNJ Happenings
When you’re heading over the bridge from Ocean City and seeking out a spot for dinner and drinks, Josie Kelly’s Public House should come to mind. Authentic Irish fare, a warm and welcoming atmosphere and top-notch adult beverage offerings make this mainland eatery a sure bet. If your appetite and interest aren’t piqued enough, read on for five great reasons to stop into Josie Kelly’s Public House today.
Tempting Irish Cuisine of a Wide Array
If you’re a fan of Irish food (or just sensational food, in general!), making your way to Josie Kelly’s Public House for brunch, lunch or dinner is an excellent dining plan to have. Some of the not-to-be-missed culinary dishes include the corned beef Reuben sandwich, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash, Irish breakfast, Irish Benedict and so much more. Take a peek at the brunch, lunch and dinner menus and decide which meal you’ll be heading to Josie Kelly’s to indulge in.
Full Bar with Irish Drink Specialties
When you dine at Josie Kelly’s Public House, ordering up your favorite Irish adult beverage is highly recommended. From Jameson, Bushmills and other tempting whiskey offerings to Guinness, Harp and additional beer options, the knowledgeable bartenders at Josie Kelly’s will be able to help you out and serve your drink of choice. Other must-try drinks include the hand-crafted cocktails, such as the Maple Walnut Old Fashioned, Pumpkin Spice Sangria and Bourbon Cherry Bomb, to name a few. For the wine sippers of the crowd, don’t worry, as you’ll find your ideal beverage offering at Josie Kelly’s, too.
Warm and Inviting Atmosphere Makes Josie Kelly’s Feel Like Home
The exterior of Josie Kelly’s Public House, with its proper Irish pub sign promising “food, drink and good times,” is sure to draw you in. Add in the inviting vibe of the interior, and you have yourself a comfortable and welcoming dining establishment, which you may not want to leave too soon! Take a seat at one of the many tables or grab a stool at the expansive bar to indulge in fabulous food and drink options, as well as to partake in the camaraderie you’re likely to experience alongside your fellow diners and sippers.
Roster Filled with Exciting Events Throughout the Year
Not only is Josie Kelly’s the spot for dining and drinking options galore, but it’s also a great place to enjoy a wide variety of events held throughout the year. From live music to sporting event viewing, you’re not going to get bored with any of the events held at this popular Somers Point restaurant. The next big event at Josie Kelly’s, the Burns Night Supper featuring an evening of poetry, bagpipes, scotch whisky and haggis, will unfold on Friday, January 25, at 7 p.m.
Convenient Location and Generous Amount of Parking Available
Another wonderful reason to dine and sip at Josie Kelly’s Public House is that the Somers Point establishment is perfectly situated right over the 9th Street bridge from Ocean City. Those who live on the island, in other parts of Somers Point or in Linwood, can get to the restaurant with ease. Add in the fact that there is a generously-sized parking lot, and you have a spot which is easy to reach and even easier to find a place to park your car while you’re inside enjoying the Irish food and festivities which Josie Kelly’s Public House offers to the community.
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.