Saturday, April 26, 2008

J.R. Monaghan's Pub & Grill

34 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore 484-416-3547

We have been anxiously waiting for any smoke-free, family-friendly restaurant in walking distance to open, crossing our fingers it wouldn't be horribly cheesy with tasteless food, and finally we got J.R. Monaghan's Pub & Grill from the owner of Brownie's, a sports pub with plasmas visible from wherever you sit.

Apparently, every other family in a 5-mile radius was also waiting. It hasn't even been open a whole week and by 6:15 pm on a Friday it was jam packed with families. (So, if you're without children and aren't into that chaotic atmosphere, wait until after 8pm to go when all the kids are getting ready for bed.) A line out the door. Smoke-free, people. This is huge!

Since it has been open only a few days, our expectations we're low. They've got kinks to work out, after all. We arrived just in time to grab a table; booths were gone by this point. Did I mention it was only 6:15?! Our server was really friendly and helpful. Beers on tap were above average and included Hoegaarden and Yards.

They provide crayons and activity placemats for the kids. No kid-cups though, which was disappointing but we survived. The kids menu included all the standards, including fish and chips. But beware, it's not what you expect (if you're expecting fish sticks). It was really french fries and a breaded fillet of something. Fortunately, it was flavorful and the girls ate it. That's all that matters in my book. I had the Southwestern Salad with grilled chicken, black beans and jalapenos. It had a nice kick to it. Husband had the Roast Beef sandwich. It wasn't dry and better than the one he had recently at McCloskey's.

We also split the Triple Chocolate Mousse which was agreed by everyone delicious. Overall, we thought the food was better than expected, but not great. It has a chain restaurant vibe: bright, bad carpeting, generic furniture, standard menu. Nothing exciting. BUT IT'S SMOKE-FREE!

For a dinner out with the kids, it's perfect. To grab a beer and watch a game, we'll take it!


Anonymous said...

I tried to go to J. R. Monaghan's with a friend on what was I think the first Thursday they were open. I had really been looking forward to seeing/trying this family friendly smoke-free restaurant which is walking distance from my house.
It was a 45 minute wait for dinner so unfortunately my friend and I had to go someplace else. But I have to say I was VERY disappointed in the visual presentation of this new place. If you're advertising your restaurant as a family friendly restaurant, at least try to make it look like a place a family would want to sit and spend some time. What I saw was a sea of vinyl, formica, fake wood paneling, and big TVs as far as the eye could see. And guess what, I saw no families there at 7:30 on a Thursday night. Instead I saw college students...many of them. I suspect the owner wants to appeal to the same crowd he gets across the street at Brownie's.
C'mon...this is a prime location on Lancaster Avenue in Ardmore. Make it look nice, for Pete's sake. It sure doesn't look like a place I'd want to hang out with my family in. My first impression, granted, though I didn't eat, was very disappointing. I really had high hopes for the Ardmore revitalization plan, but if J. R. Monaghan's is any example of what's to come, well, ugh. Sad.

Stephanie said...

We went back. It was't much better. We got a table right away but then waited too long for a server to show. The kids had spaghetti with butter and it had a chicken broth flavor to it. If you're kids like that, you're set. Mine didn't love it. I had the veggie burger and it fell apart the second I picked it up. I ended up eating it with a fork. It was a mess, although the flavor was okay. Husband had the burger. It was fine. He'd order it again. They now have kids cups, which is good. It's unfortunate that this place screams bad chain restaurant. There's just no character.

LarKar said...

We had been to J.R. Monaghan's a few times before, but tonight's experience will be our last. The owner, Joe Rufo, was completely rude to us and told us that when we own a bar, we can do what we want. And if we don't like it, then the we can leave. So, we left. The full story is on our blog ( if you wish to read it. But we're never going back to J.R. Monaghan's again.

Joe Rufo said...

Although I did have an investment interest in JR Monaghans when it first opened, I never once worked there. This never happened, and anyone who knows me would also know that I would never treat anyone the way these folks were treated

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