By Brenda L. Holmes
A pub is an important part of Irish culture and not necessarily a place to drink, but rather a gathering place. This idea is what the staff at The Claddagh Irish Pub in Plainfield is trying to teach the local community.
“It’s a great place to come, visit, and relax,” said Chanda Guyer, general manager of Claddagh. “When you come here you are not just going to a bar, although we do have a great bar here.”
Over the door it says, “Failte go Claddagh,” which means, “Welcome to the Claddagh.”
The Claddagh Irish Pub opened at Metropolis Mall in 2006. It is owned by Patrick McDonach who lives in Ireland. The CDG Acquisitions home office is in Solon, Ohio. All of the company’s upper management is Irish born and bred.
Guyer came on board just over two years ago and is teamed with chef Andrew Dunaway. The pub has 20 kitchen employees and a wait staff of 30. They are dedicated to offering the best service to their customers.
“We have to treat our guests like family,” she said. “I tell my employees we just have to be better than anyone else.”
The Plainfield location serves as the training kitchen for all 15 Claddagh Irish Pubs.
“And Andy has just come up with a new menu we are very proud of,” Guyer said. “Our corporate structure is very supportive but not as controlling. So they let us choose our own menu.”
The new menu does keep some of the old Irish favorites, but it also introduces several Midwestern staples such as the pork tenderloin and the pulled pork sandwich.
The new menu also added steaks and, one of Guyer’ new favorites, The Humongous Fungus sandwich.
“It is everything a mushroom sandwich can be,” she said. “It is big and so good.”
“This menu is more ‘Irish-American,’” Guyer said. “The new menu is going very well so corporate has decided to use portions of our new menu in our other two Indianapolis-area stores.”
The Claddagh Irish Pub has a restaurant in downtown Indianapolis on Meridian Street and at 96th and Keystone in Carmel.
Dunaway said he is pleased the new menu is doing so well for the store and the company.
“We are very excited about the new menu,” he said.
The store also offers several special holiday events throughout the year. Recently the staff hosted several families for Mother’s Day. The next holiday celebration will be Father’s Day on June 16. There will be several steak specials and a chance to win a $250 gas grill.
“We are only taking entries that day and you do have to come in to enter,” Guyer said. “They don’t have to stay and eat. As long as they walk in the door, they can enter to win the grill.”
The grill is now on display in the entrance area to the restaurant.
The Claddagh Irish Pub will host a patio kick-off party from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 22. There will be a hog roast to celebrate. There is an $8 cover charge for an all-you-can eat menu of pulled pork, ribs, brats, and other Irish food.
There will also be live music and drink specials.
“This is also a customer appreciation event,” Guyer said. “We have a great patio and we want to get the word out about it.”
Currently, the Plainfield store is hosting Claddagh’s Got Talent at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays. This is a karaoke competition for local talent.
It is free to participate. Winners from each week will compete in a semi-final round and then a final round on July 6. The winner of the competition will receive $2,000.
All ages are welcome to The Claddagh with the exception of St. Patrick’s Day.
“We have family dining,” she said. “This is a great place to bring the kids and have a nice family dinner or to celebrate a special event.”
David Richardson serves as the bar manager and Aaron Schmidt is the dining room manager.
The pub/restaurant offers specials each week. On Mondays customers can enjoy buy-one-get-one-free fish and chips.
“We call Tuesday our Beef and Brew day,” Guyer said.
There is a $12.99 special for a 5-ounce beef filet with two side items and $4 Guinness pints.
On Sunday, children eat free from the children’s menu and there is a 15 percent discount offered to seniors.
There are also half-price appetizers offered 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, which is the Claddagh’s version of “happy hour.”
There is live music at the pub four days a week. Irish music group Ennis Clare plays at 7 p.m. the first Saturday of each month.
“And we have put in a PA system that will allow people in every room to hear the live music,” Guyer said. “Those speakers are also available for people who may be having a meeting or event.”
The Claddagh Irish Pub is open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
For more information on upcoming events or to see who will be playing live music, visit the website at claddaghirishpubs.com.