The Old Timer Restaurant
By Rachel Shuster
The Old Timer Restaurant, family-run and opened in 1929, is all about providing a delicious Irish/American experience to all those who visit. Brian McNally, who helps run the place with his parents, says that his grandparents came over from Ireland and started the business. McNally adds that “You never have to worry when coming to the Old Timer. You’ll always get great food and a great experience.”
Serving such traditional dishes as fish and chips, corned beef and cabbage and shepherd’s pie, the Old Timer doesn’t disappoint. “I definitely suggest having a pint of Guinness as soon as you walk through the door, that’s a meal in itself,” McNally laughs. Of course, you can also choose a Smithwick’s or one of several Irish whiskeys.
The most common way to prepare dishes in Irish cooking is boiling, so for anyone who wants to start their Irish cuisine experience by diving right in, McNally suggests starting with the corned beef. As for the dish that gets the most raised eyebrows? That would be the grey corned beef. “Customers expect to see the corned beef be red, so when they see it is grey, they question it. It’s grey because there is a particular brining method we use in Irish cooking.”
Using local ingredients in all their dishes, the Old Timer certainly brings the Irish feel to Central MA with its food and ambiance; while you’re enjoying your authentic Irish meal, take note of the Irish flags hanging from the walls, and the deep colored wood of the full bar that makes you feel like you’re actually in Ireland. “We have a sign hanging in the front of the restaurant that translates to ‘100,000 welcomes’ and that’s what we hope we achieve with each person’s visit. We want to make each individual feel as welcome as possible,” McNally says.
155 Church Street, Clinton
Galway Bay Irish Pub
By Rachel Shuster
Galway Bay Irish Pub is a sure bet for a great, authentic Irish pub experience. Manager Colum O’Connor says that the traditional Irish pub, opened in 2005, is a place where you can come by yourself, but leave with new friends. O’Connor’s parents, the owners, are natives of Galway, Ireland. It was O’Connor’s father’s dream to open up an Irish pub and share his traditions and culture, and he found that opportunity with the Worcester community. Connected with Andrea’s Pizza, Galway Bay shares the extensive menu full of pizza and other such pub food, but the highlight is the traditional Irish food like corned beef and cabbage, served on special occasions like St. Patrick’s Day. For those unfamiliar with Irish food, O’Connor recommends The Galway Reuben, a signature sandwich made with piles of corned beef.
All the ingredients are locally bought at this family run business. Conveying the feel of actually being in a pub in Ireland was important to the owners. O’Connor says, “It’s a big bar with 20 seats surrounding the bar. At pubs in Ireland, there could be 100 people in a pub, but you’ll find everyone crowded around the bar, so we wanted to make sure there were enough seats for a lot of people.”
As for drinks, Galway Bay is fully stocked and serves Irish favorites and classics such as Guinness and Smithwick’s, as well as a vast variety of Irish whiskeys. “We’re known to have the best Guinness pour in town,” O’Connor says proudly. You can also find traditional Irish sports like hurling and Gaelic football on the TVs at the bar. The Worcester Rugby Football Club are regulars at Galway Bay. Before the Worcester St. Patty’s Parade each year, the team heads over to the Galway Bay for a good, traditional Irish meal like bangers and mashed.
You can also find authentic Irish music being played on Saturday nights. O’Connor notes that people are most curious about Galway, what it’s like and how pubs in Ireland compare to those here. Thanks to the Galway Bay, the Worcester community knows first hand.
186 Stafford Street, Worcester