Vincent Tuohy tried to keep the opening of his bar and restaurant somewhat quiet.
But patrons, taking down cold pints from freshly tapped kegs Thursday evening, said the place was packed Wednesday for their soft opening. The taps are pouring, the bottles are stocked, and the beer garden is expected to open Friday. Through the weekend, the Patriot will be serving wings, chicken tenders and burgers only, with the full menu rolling out on Monday.
“We wanted to give Orland Park a St. Patrick’s Day here,” said Tuohy, a native of Dublin. “We hope people forgive us for not having the full menu.”
Tuohy first described the Irish Patriot back in November as a family Irish bar and restaurant. On Thursday, his wife Fiona was tending the bar and his son Shane waited tables, while a steady flow of eager newcomers came through the door.
“We’re delighted with the support from everyone,” Tuohy said. “It took time to get here, but we wanted to make sure we did it right.”
The bar resides in Paddy’s B’s former home for decades at 9875 W. 143rd St., in a building first constructed in 1910. With age came many needs for heavy improvements.
“It was a basement-to-roof remodeling and renovation,” Tuohy said. “We worked with the historical society as well to make sure it fit visual themes of stores nearby, and gave it a store front look on the outside.”
Inside, the space is split between the bar area and table seating with a tall stone fireplace and chimney in the middle. Large windows along the northwest corner allow a great deal of light onto the soft yellow walls, accented with wood paneling.
While no advertising was put out for the soft opening, plans are in the works for a full grand opening, once they feel they are ready, Tuohy said.
“The biggest focus for us now is to iron the creases and tweak any issues we have,” Tuohy said. “Then in a few months we’ll have a grand opening.”
Tuohy, who also owns The Irish Legend in Willow Springs, said visitors have been talking constantly about the differences between his establishment and the old Paddy B’s. In light of the nostalgia many might have for the former occupants, Tuohy has commissioned a photo mural to be made with pictures taken in the new Irish Patriot and from the old Paddy B’s.
Looking into the future, a reclaim hood was installed in the kitchen that will transfer heat from cooking steam caught in it back to the water heater, and other , Tuohy said.
As for the food menu, it will be similar to what is now served at The Irish Legend. Head Chef Jose Perez will be preparing from-scratch Irish soda bread in house. Perez has worked in kitchens all over Ireland, including the Shelbourne Dublin, The Helm in Westport and the Tavern in Murrisk.
“It’s a recipe that combines elements from the different places I’ve worked,” Perez said about the bread. “And it has a few touches of my own.”
Rounding out the support is T’s Amusement, which will be providing music for the business.
“There’s a lot of history in this area,” Tuohy said. “And we’re real excited to be a part of it now.”