Luck of the motherf%@$ing Irish
Yesterday, just two days after opening, they did 800 covers, give or take. This morning, the house was on a wait from the minute they opened the doors at 11 a.m. and -- helped out a bit by a forensics conference in town -- managed to put north of 350 bodies through at lunchtime. At dinner tonight, the owners are expecting to do about the same.
This is what I said a few days ago when I wrote about Katie Mullen's, just in advance of its opening: I don't know if [owner Paul] Maye and company can fill that large a space. I definitely think [chef John] Ruane is overestimating the draw on his kitchen. I worry that no one but me and the other East Cost transplants, itinerant Micks, wandering pub purists and ex-pats from the Old Country stranded in Denver will get the difference between a Victorian bar and an apothecary bar, between a pint of Guinness that has traveled 500 feet through the lines as opposed to fifteen, between real Irish bangers and chips and that frozen shit from Sysco. I worry that Maye and his crew will have done all this work and spent all this money and made all these decisions to always err on the side of traditionalism, on the side of right and proper, to no good end.
Now, though? Now it looks like I had nothing to worry about. Ruane had told me that he was setting up his kitchen in anticipation of being able to knock down 500 covers a day. I'd told him that I thought he was crazy -- or at the very least insanely optimistic. Turns out he was right to staff up and load heavy.
I thought Maye would see a slow build, maybe. A cautious tide of customers come sniffing around his taps. He saw things the other way and opened up on day one, minute one, as if a full house and a warm reception was already a foregone conclusion. Once again, he was right -- a smarter and a braver man than me by a long stretch.
So here's to Maye and his partners, to Ruane and his crew and all those slugging it out on the floor at Katie Mullen's. I might not have believed that it could've gone as well as it has, but rarely have I been so happy to be proven wrong so fast. Cheers, and I'll see you all at the bar.