Irish pubs may be difficult to come by in the area, and Irish dishes are even sparser. But thanks to Dublin Steakhouse and Erin’s Pub, local diners will find both — and a lot more — in an atmosphere that seems foreign, but, oh, so familiar.
Located in Selbyville, in the Mason Dixon Shopping Center on Route 113, the seven-month-old restaurant and pub has been providing diners with an authenticity that is hard to come by, according to owner Sean Oates.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised with business,” said Oates of the time since their opening on May 4. “We have a lot of locals and regulars that started coming here pretty often.”
Both the pub and steakhouse boast an assortment of beverages to whet the whistle — from genuine Irish draft beers, including Guinness, Harp, Smithwick’s and Murphy’s Red, to one-of-a-kind Irish whiskeys, such as Tullamore Dew and Black Bush.
What’s most original about the establishment, however, is their extensive menu, ranging from Irish specialties to steaks and seafood dinners.
“Shepherd’s pie and the Guinness pot roast are big sellers,” said Oates. “The fish-and-chips is an Irish favorite, too.” Since the business’ opening, the menu has presented new meals, such as the pork chops topped with cinnamon and apples, and the London broil, dubbed “the Belfast Broil.”
“It’s sort of a tongue-in-cheek thing for the Irish,” said Oates.
Not to stray from their name, the restaurant serves a selection of steaks. “Our signature item is our prime rib,” said Oates. “We sell more of that than anything, and I put our prime rib up against anybody’s.”
But Oates is in no way going to limit his business to steaks, seafood and Irish specialties.
“We are now serving pizza and subs, too,” he said. “Captain’s closed down across the street,” he noted, referring to the once-popular night spot, “and [it and] Howard’s both sold pizza.” (Howard’s was, of course, replaced by Dublin Steakhouse and Erin’s Pub.) “Since they left, there’s been a high demand, and we want to appeal to everyone in the area.”
With the closing of the summer season, Oates has made some changes, including weekly dinner specials and “all-day happy hour,” which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day.
“We’re trying to bring a sports pub to Selbyville, since there’s never really been a true sports pub here,” said Oates. “We get a lot of people coming in for football games, both college and professional, especially when Notre Dame plays.”
Nightly specials are held during the weekdays, including “Madden Mondays,” when patrons can participate in Madden football video game tournaments on a 7-foot screen in Erin’s Pub. Tuesday’s are open-mic night, and on Wednesdays customers can enjoy the tunes of local musician Jerry Speace.
Thursday is biker night in Erin’s Pub, while on the restaurant side diners indulge in tales of folklore and flute music, courtesy of Raggatha Rain Christine and Boe Harris, storytellers who have traveled the world, sharing their tales through song and dance.
Oates said he couldn’t be happier with the success of his restaurant and pub. It definitely keeps his hands full, considering he has also been teaching special education and coaching varsity tennis at Indian River High School for eight years. “I’m at the school every day, and I’m here pretty much here every evening,” he said.
Oates’ daughter Taunya and son Travis have been helpful in running the business for the restaurant and pub. “My son runs the kitchen and does a great job, and my daughter is here when I’m not. Everything’s working out fine.”
The restaurant scene is nothing new to Oates, either. He has worked in Ocean City at fine dining locations such as The Lookout Restaurant and Lounge Fenwick Inn and Thompson’s Sea Girt House, now Fresco’s.
“The food is all reasonably priced here,” emphasized Oates. “I’ve incorporated the fancier background to Selbyville,” he added of his previous workplaces. “You can’t price your menu out for what you can get away with at the beach. But everyone seems to like it, and that’s why they keep coming back.”
“I’m basically in here every day, but right now it’s a labor of love,” said Oates. “When you open a new place, you want to see it grow, and it’s like your baby. It’s exciting, and I look forward to coming in each day.”
With recently-purchased property in Williamsville, on Route 54, Oates said there is potential for expansion. “If business really takes off, there’s an opportunity for us to have more of a beach location, but that’s way, way down the road. We need to get through the first season to see how things go.”
For information about the menu and seasonal specials, call Dublin Steakhouse and Erin’s Pub at (302) 436-9400.