Celtic Crossing merges culture and locale
Located in the Cooper-Young Historic District, Celtic Crossing Irish Pub & Restaurant serves up a variety of pints and Irish fare inspired by my traditional, Irish family recipes for Saturday and Sunday brunch and lunch and dinner seven days a week. Opened in 2005, Celtic celebrates the spirit of the traditional Irish pub in an easy and relaxed environment for all to enjoy. From rare Irish whiskeys and corned beef sliders to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and monthly Irish seisiuns, Celtic has something for everyone wanting a true taste of what life is like across the pond.
How did it all begin? After graduating from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Commerce Finance, and then from University of Limerick with a Masters of Computer Systems, I left for America with $1,000 in my pocket. After spending time in the business world working for companies like TERC and Thompson Financial, I decided to set out on a new venture.
Being from Europe, I am an avid soccer fan. (Go Liverpool!) Whenever I wanted to go out and watch a game, there really wasn’t a true, authentic place to go. There simply was no restaurant or bar in the city that was anything like what I experienced in Ireland. Thus, the idea to open Celtic Crossing was born. In 2005, I opened the doors, 13 years after my arrival in the States. Many of the dishes on our menu are made from recipes that are straight out of my grandmother’s kitchen. My favorite? Shepherd’s Pie.
The idea of an Irish pub in the barbecue capital of the world was received very well, and thankfully, still is today. Many people may not think of Memphis as a soccer city, but I would like to think Celtic is helping move that needle. We see large, passionate crowds for big games, and oftentimes open as early as 6 a.m. to accommodate for the time difference across the pond. (Nothing wrong with enjoying a pint of Guinness as the sun rises!) My wife Jamie and I play in local soccer leagues, and she spearheaded a fundraiser that raised $10,000 for an inner-city girl’s soccer team in 2016 as well. Soccer is a big deal to our family, and it’s helped make Celtic what it is today.
Over the last few years, Celtic has been recognized in the list for Best Outdoor Dining by Memphis Magazine; named one of the Best Brunches in Memphis by Thrillist; made the list of Men’s Journal’s Most Innovative French Fries in America for the Irish Nachos, and was a Memphis Business Journal Small Business Award finalist in 2017. I owe a lot of our success to Celtic’s authenticity and because we have our fingers on the pulse of customer satisfaction. The combination of the two is our secret to success. Whether it’s polling patrons on if they would prefer Celtic to go smoke-free or opening in the wee hours of the morning to show a big soccer match, my wife Jamie and I are constantly going above and beyond to ensure pubgoers are happy. We expanded the brunch to Saturday, extensively renovated the interior, transitioned to smoke-free, introduced new menu items and launched a monthly Irish whiskey tasting that has proved to be wildly successful, all in the name of authenticity and customer satisfaction.
When I opened Celtic Crossing, I, of course, wanted it to be wildly successful, but I had no idea it would be going this well this long after it opened. Sure, we have hit some bumps along the road. Each year, more and more restaurants pop up all over our city, which helps keep us on our toes. We’re constantly thinking of new ways to showcase my Irish culture in unique ways that are going to get people through our doors. After a dozen years, it’s great to see Memphians embracing and enjoying my culture. I hope to give this experience to them for a dozen more.