LAURIUM - The Irish Times Pub and Restaurant and banquet room is celebrating its 5th year in business.
"We've had a great five years and we've only just begun," owner Lisa Ronan said.
"I thought five years ago that it was a labor of love I had no idea," she said with a laugh.
The Irish Times Pub & Restaurant of Laurium offers a unique dining experience in the Keweenaw. Clockwise from top, owner Lisa Cormac holds the door open to the restaurant, located on Hecla Street.
Lisa said they are revamping their menu just in time for the restaurant's five-year anniversary. She and her husband, Cormac, opened Irish Times Oct. 1, 2004. Back then, the brick building on Hecla Street was home to Shawns, which was most famous for its homemade pizzas.
To start off their 5th year, they've decided to bring back pizza to the menu.
"Every Thursday we'll offer our homemade pizza. We have been trying different sauce and crust recipes and have had various people taste test them. We think we have a winner," Lisa said. " We hope it's a hit and we'll consider adding it every night."
In celebration of their anniversary, Lisa said they're having a monthlong raffle beginning Friday and continuing through Oct. 31. Prizes include a one-night stay at the AmericInn in Calumet, a one-night stay at the Laurium Manor Inn, $25 gift card to Pat's IGA, dinner gift certificates among others.
"Just come on in and enter your name in the drawing," she said.
The Irish Times offers a warm, friendly atmosphere with a wide variety of delectable menu items. Under the appetizer section, diners can select from their potato skins, garlic mushrooms, or spicy chicken wings, among savory others. Popular dinners include their Cottage Pie, Whiskey Chicken and Medallions of Beef; or from the burger menu, the garlic mushroom is a customer favorite.
"That's one of our more popular burgers," Lisa said. "We have six different kinds of burgers and they're all around $7 with French fries."
Although they have offered daily specials in the past, Lisa said they're keeping them more consistent from week to week, beginning with two-for-one steak night Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, Irish Times offers Italian night. Each week features a different Italian dish. Thursdays offers their homemade pizza and salad combo. Fridays will offer a seafood buffet with items like deep-fried cod, baked lake trout and other fish specialities. Ending the week is the Saturday night prime rib dinner with a king or queen cut.
Lisa said when they first opened, they wanted to keep the menu within a certain price range without sacrificing qualit.
"We are still keeping that in mind," she said.
The Pub side features Guinness and Smithwicks, which is an Irish red ale, on tap.
"Both are very popular," Lisa said. Occasionally, the bar alternates a third tap beer and it's usually a Keweenaw Brewing Company beer. In addition, 25-cent wings are available nightly.
"We really want to bring back that neighborhood feel. You can come in, if the grill is on, we'll cook for you, we'll do whatever it takes," she said. "If there's people here, we'll stay open."
In addition to the restaurant and pub there are also two banquet rooms on the premises.
"One area that continues to grow is our banquets. It's something we really enjoy doing. Parties and events are always a lot of fun," Lisa said.
The Irish Times has two banquet rooms available for events. The Bon Ton room (named after the original restaurants' name) is located in the building adjacent to the restaurant. It is equipped with its own entrance, restrooms, dance floor and bar. The Bon Ton room can accomodate events up to 150 people comfortably. Irish Times has done a wide range of events such as weddings, rehersal dinners, Christmas parties, showers, meetings, and reunions, to name a few.
"It's a very large room that can be utilized for many different events," Lisa said, adding they cater to a lot of local businesses and have also attracted business from the Houghton and Hancock area. "It's a little out of the way but I think we are competitive with other banqueting facilities because of our prices."
And even though they are budget friendly they refuse to compromise on quality.
"I think we serve a very nice meal," Lisa said.
The other banquet room is the Richetta room. It is a smaller, more intimate room. It is perfect for smaller meetings or banquets for up to 25 people.
"We try to work within peoples budgets," Lisa said, adding a typical full service dinner buffet ranges in price from $10 to $20. "We strive to treat each event individually".
With pizza back on the menu, Irish Times is the perfect location for a birthday pizza party for the kids.
"Kids love the banquet room, there's plenty of room to run," she said.
Being in the restaurant business has been quite the learning experience, Lisa said, and she couldn't do it day in and day out without the help of her employees.
"I really want to thank them. They're here all the time and almost every one of them has been here since day one," she said. "They're a great group of people."
Lisa said she is also grateful for the customer support they've received over the past five years.
"There have been a lot of people in this community who've supported us. They're not just customers anymore they're more like friends, so 'Thank you,'" she said. "I also want to thank all the local businesses, organizations and groups for their support."
The Irish Times is located at 333 Hecla St. in Laurium. Restaurant hours are 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Pub hours are 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. weekends. Banquets are available 7 days a week. For more information, call 337-3977.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by The Irish Times of Laurium. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.