Born and reared in rural County Limerick, my best friends owned the local Restaurant/Bar and nightclub. From an early age i started working there collecting glasses, eventually graduating to serving and bartending. At 17 my friend and I set sail for England to attend catering college. After finishing college I worked in Hotels in England and Ireland but my heart was always in the Pub business.
I think most Irish people think at least once in their lives about moving to America. Personally I made my decision at the end of 2005. After one last Christmas at home I set off on my journey to Atlantic City, NJ in February 2006. Any nervousness about my new adventure and my dislike of flying quickly changed to excitement as I marveled at the New York City skyline on my approach at Newark airport.
My soon to be manager picked me up and we headed down the parkway to the Jersey Shore. A few days after I was dropped off at my new home in Ventnor, I started working as the assistant Manager of Ri Ra Irish Pub at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. During the first couple of weeks I went for a haircut and wandered into a local salon. Little did I know but the stylist Kathleen, whom I would not meet again for several months, would eventually become my wife.
After three and half years in New Jersey I was offered a great opportunity to open a new branch restaurant for Ri Ra in Atlanta, Georgia. Kathleen left her successful career as a stylist to follow my dream only to find out that her cosmetology license did not have reciprocity in the state of Georgia. As a result she would eventually start working at Ri Ra with me. We realized we worked well together (not an easy thing for a couple to do) and she became an integral part of our success in Atlanta. During our time in Georgia, we were married and had our first born son.
After six fantastic years in Georgia my responsibility with Ri Ra increased and I began a new role overseeing both Atlanta and the original Charlotte, North Carolina location. Our time in Charlotte was well spent reinvigorating the business and expanding our family as our second son was born there.
Having a family changed our priorities and we knew it was time to settle down and figure out where to raise our children. The obvious choice was back at the New Jersey shore, Kathleen’s home and my first American home. We always had aspirations of opening our own business and with a bit of luck and some perseverance, we stumbled across the old Mac’s building.
“Nobody likes to party like the Irish!”