Magee's Irish Pub & Eatery is opening next week in Ankeny's Prairie Trail
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When customers walk into Magee's Irish Pub & Eatery, Andrew Martin wants them to feel like they're stepping 100 years back in time.
The newest addition to the District at Prairie Trail in Ankeny features a menu full of traditional Irish fare and a bar with a wide variety of Irish beers and whiskeys.
That's all set inside an environment of Irish decor and mahogany woodwork meant to feel like it's from a different continent and time period, but still with modern amenities like wireless internet and television screens.
"We want to be more than just an Irish place that has an Irish name that serves Guinness," Martin, the pub's owner, said. "We’re trying to bring those who are traditionalists, and when they come in here they really enjoy a true experience."
Martin, who also owns Cabaret Sports Bar & Grille and Cold Stone Creamery in Ankeny, said customers can get a first look at Magee's next week when the pub has a soft opening.
He went back to his roots for the concept. Four of his grandparents have Irish roots, he said, and the pub is titled after his wife's maiden name.
The process included extensive research, including a tour of Ireland in January, where his family visited 70 Irish pubs in 10 days.
As a result, Martin purchased a selection of Irish decor that now hangs throughout the restaurant, which will seat 107 inside and another 35 on its heated patio.
"I think Ankeny now has finally gotten to the point where it's large enough to support some unique businesses that aren't just what's the next fast food chain," he said. "That part is what we're trying to deliver."
Decor includes a barrel head signed by the distillers at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland, a large black-and-white photo print of the Titanic being constructed in Belfast, and tables built out of whiskey barrels by Bondurant Custom Furniture.
The menu features a range of traditional favorites like fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and bangers and mash. A selection of certified Angus burgers includes the "Irish Hangover" — which is topped with a fried egg, Irish Dubliner aged cheese, Irish rashers bacon and thousand island dressing — and the Bushmills burger, which has grilled onions, Bushmills barbecue sauce and Irish Ballyshannon cheddar cheese.
The menu also includes salads, an Irish stew and a seafood chowder, and a selection of tasters and small plates like Irish poutine, Yorkshire scotch eggs and Reuben egg rolls.
Drinks include a Bushmills whiskey-infused beer made by Ankeny's Firetrucker Brewery, as well as 16 other Irish, Scotch and English beers on tap. Martin said he will offer every available Irish and Scotch whiskey allowed by the state of Iowa, and the bottles sit prominently on a floor-to-ceiling shelf display behind the bar.
The pub features five "snugs," or enclosed eating areas found in traditional Irish pubs. Each has a theme including a Gothic cathedral, sports, Irish humor, maritime and traditional library-style.
A ribbon cutting for Magee's will be 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16. That week will be the restaurant's soft opening, Martin said.
Martin said he's planning to add breakfast on weekends sometime early next year. He's also working on planning a St. Patrick's Day celebration with Irish dancers and live Irish music.
Magee's Irish Pub & Eatery
Location: 1610 SW Main St.
Opening: Ribbon-cutting Monday. A soft opening will be throughout the week.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Plans to begin opening earlier on weekends for breakfast sometime after the beginning of next year.
Ian Richardson covers Ankeny and Altoona for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.
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