March always seems like a long month. The beauty of snowy days has given way to mud and rain, and the promise of spring is still a ways off. When March 17 hits, we are all looking for a reason to cheer, so Irish and non-Irish folks alike take to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. We put on our green shirts, drink green beer and eat corned beef like it’s going out of style. And if you are looking for a place that brings on the Irish, you may enjoy Mary Murphy’s.
Located on Main Street in Wakefield, Murphy’s is housed in the former Fat Belly’s location. The entrance to the pub is located in an interior hallway, which is actually pretty great during the wintertime. Every time the door opens, a chilly blast of arctic air doesn’t enter the dining area. Walking into the restaurant, you immediately know you are in an Irish pub. The walls are plastered with beer memorabilia, and the flags of both Ireland and the United States wave proudly over the entrance. Mary Murphy’s has a homey feel, perfect for long days spent drinking pints and hanging out with friends. The bar takes up a good third of the room, and the remainder is filled with low top tables.
As expected, the beer list is extensive.On the day we visited, they had 17 beers on tap. I thought they had a nice selection, including a variety of Irish beers, local beers and even some generic American beers to keep everybody happy. I started with a pint of Guinness ($6.25) because with Irish food, you can’t really beat that pairing. This was indeed a perfectly poured pint – the foamy head of the beer domed above the glass ever so slightly. My family was keeping a sober diet, so they stuck to Diet Pepsi ($4).
For starters, we sampled both the Shepherd Fries ($10) and the Wings with Spicy Plum Sauce ($10). The Shepherd Fries were a meal by themselves. The serving plate was piled high with classic French fries, shepherd’s pie fixings and then smothered in melted cheese and sprinkled with scallions. We enjoyed this take on loaded fries very much. The wings were excellent – meaty and cooked perfectly. They can be served with a variety of sauces – Buffalo, barbecue and Jameson honey in addition to our choice, spicy plum. We thought the sauce was tasty but not overpowering.
Though the starters were good, at Mary Murphy’s it’s all about the corned beef. I’m finicky about my corned beef, and they might have the best corned beef in Rhode Island. As every good Irish Pub does, Mary Murphy’s brines their corned beef, and you’ll really taste the difference. You can order your corned beef a few different ways – as a dinner, in a Reuben sandwich or on sliders. My dad ordered the Corned Beef Dinner ($15). The dinner comes with a generous portion of corned beef, mashed potatoes and cabbage. There wasn’t anything on the plate that he didn’t enjoy, and there was so much, he took some home for the next day. My mother tried out the Corned Beef Sliders ($13). The bite-sized sandwiches were constructed with potato buns, mustard, coleslaw and plenty of corned beef. The sliders were considered an appetizer, so my mother added a side Caesar salad ($4.99).
Sticking with my Guinness theme, I ordered the Guinness Beef Stew ($14). Again, the portion was huge, and I was barely able to finish half of it. The beef in the stew was high quality and was accompanied by potatos, celery, carrots, parsnips, onions and turnips. It was also topped with a helping of mashed potatoes and served with house-made brown bread, making this a very hearty dish. My brother shied away from the Irish food on the menu and ordered the Mac & Cheese with Bacon ($12). I know I keep saying this, but the portion really was massive.
After we boxed up our leftovers, we took a peek at the dessert menu and wished we had room to try something. The Pumpkin Spice Bundt sounded particularly good to us – pumpkin bundt cake soaked in buttery orange sauce, filled with spice cream and drizzled with caramel. What’s not to like about that? Besides desserts, they also had some fancy dessert coffee drinks. How about Mary Murphy’s Coffee with Grand Marnier, Frangelico and Baileys?
There is always something comforting about an Irish pub. Between the flowing beer taps, the variety of food and the convivial atmosphere, Irish pubs are the workhorses of the restaurant industry. Whether it’s to celebrate St. Patrick, watch March Madness basketball games or just forget about March for a while, Mary Murphy’s Pub fits the bill. Ask the barkeep to pour you a pint, and order up some corned beef and toast to the speedy arrival of spring. Sláinte!
333 Main Street, Wakefield