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Starters: The Irishman branches out in East Aurora

The long-awaited sister restaurant of The Irishman Pub & Eatery is now open in the heart of East Aurora.

This newest rendition by the same name holds much of the Gaelic spirit of its Williamsville counterpart, though its bolstered menu, sleek aesthetic, and contemporary features lend it a character that’s a step outside the traditional tavern.

Sporting exposed brick, steel, Edison bulbs, unfurnished wood flooring and a roaring pizza hearth, the mixture of stylish and rustic touches at The Irishman provide a classy but cozy environment that’s all too easy to sink in to, particularly considering the fare.

The menu at The Irishman is a litany of tavern favorites like Harp-battered chicken tenders available in their signature Guinness barbecue sauce ($13), and a hearty shepherd’s pie made the traditional way with lamb instead of beef ($16).

The new Irishman Pub & Eatery in East Aurora. Contemporary touches on the classic tavern aesthetic make for a modern yet cozy atmosphere. (Phil Wagner/Special to The News)

The fish & chips at The Irishman ($16) is a fresh haddock fry-up with Guinness batter and hand-cut fries, served with house-made coleslaw, remoulade, and of course, tartar sauce.

It’s a generous-sized fillet that arrives steaming, perched atop a mountain of fries that are particularly addictive when dipped in the tangy remoulade.

Guinness battered fish & chips. A fried haddock fillet served piping hot year-round on a mountain of hand-cut fries. (Phil Wagner/Special to The News)

No tavern is complete without a burger, and The Big Irish burger ($14) is the flagship of The Irishman’s fleet, all served on their signature Celtic knot roll with hand-cut fries.

Though there’s significant variety with creative pairings like Havarti-apple and beef alternatives with both veggie and turkey patties, The Big Irish is a straight-shooting classic topped with Irish cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, and applewood bacon. For $1 more you can swap for a pretzel bun, which might be a better fit for whose who like a burger ratio that leans more toward the patty.

Where the new Irishman Pub & Eatery differentiates itself from tavern tradition is its Italian imported brick oven that cooks house-made thin-crust pizzas at 730 degrees in mere minutes.

Cross-section of the medium-rare Big Irish burger, served on a signature Celtic knot roll topped with Irish cheddar, mushrooms, and applewood bacon. (Phil Wagner/Special to The News)

Using house-made fermented dough, The Irishman spins classic pies like buffalo chicken and traditional margherita along with some specialty pairings like their Ultimate Tailgate with pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions, and the Green Eyed Blonde ($12, featured image).

Made with mozzarella, parmesan, Italian herbs, fresh basil, and a healthy drizzle of olive oil, it’s a great mix of simple and sharp flavors. It's a solid starter for a group that comes out lightning quick.

Guinness BBQ wings, sauced then charred for a sweet, smoky, and crunchy combo. (Phil Wagner/Special to The News)

Setting up shop across from Bar Bill makes slotting a menu spot for chicken wings a bold move. However, The Irishman is without a doubt holding its own with their Guinness barbecue wings ($13).

Though the beer flavor doesn’t ring clearly, their crispy, smoky, sticky, pit-finished sweetness lingers memorably. They’re a great option for a full meal or another crowd-pleasing starter.

Complete with an ample bar that pours all the Irish staples along with some lesser-known Celtic spirits, The Irishman is splashing some newness onto their tavern roots to branch out anew in East Aurora.

INFO: The Irishman, 162 Main St, East Aurora. Phone: 626-2670. Hours: Kitchen 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday & Saturday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Bar open late.

The facade of the new Irishman Pub and Eatery on Main Street in East Aurora. (Phil Wagner/Special to The News)

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