MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesotans love Irish pubs, so Jason DeRusha took a drive to Maple Plain, Minnesota, and found a classic pub in an unlikely spot.
When your last name is McGarry and you decide to put your name on a place, you have to sell Guinness and you have to sell corned beef. You have to sell cabbage and Irish shepherd’s pie.
“We focus on food,” said Bill McGarry, the namesake of McGarry’s Pub. “I happened to be traveling to Ireland on business–doing a fair amount of pub research.”
But you might not expect it to find McGarry’s establishment in the small Minnesota town of Maple Plain, a place of just 1,700 residents and one other restaurant. You have to be good enough to get people to come–no accidental customers.
“This is a destination: If you’re going to go to McGarry’s Pub, you went to McGarry’s Pub,” McGarry said. “You didn’t just wander by.”
McGarry decided to make his pub far more than just a place to share a drink and eat typical Irish food.
He said he’d be bored just serving Rubens and shepherd’s pie.
“That’s not why I’m here,” McGarry said.
Chef Jon Boetel is charged with making McGarry’s a spot worth the drive.
Gremolata forms a crust on a gorgeous rainbow trout.
“This is made with pumpkin seeds, pumpernickel, lemon zest and garlic,” Boetel explained.
Steamed mussels cooked in Guinness are another top seller.
There’s been a restaurant on the same corner for nearly 90 years. McGarry changed the concept from a typical small town cafe.
“Business has been very, very good,” McGarry said. “We have a very strong support in the community.”
The classics are awesome: corned beef roasted for 14 hours, shepherd’s pie made with New York Strip steak.
The strategy has paid off and, like a true pub, McGarry’s is bringing together people from all over.
“All of the Germans and Swedes and Hmong who come out are suddenly Irish for the day–it’s a lot of fun when we’re really hopping and really busy,” McGarry said.
McGarry’s serves lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day.
And they get a lot of families. There’s even a kid’s shepherd’s pie.