Thursday, January 14, 2010

Midtown Highlight: Rira Irish Pub

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Each week I will be highlighting a Midtown restaurant in the area that I feel my followers would like to know more about. I will ask the questions that my followers would like me to ask and hold an interview with the manager at each Midtown restaurant.

This week I have chosen Rira Irish Pub on Crescent St. as the Midtown highlight of the week! I interviewed Spencer, the manager, as well as a couple waitresses about their experience in Atlanta and working at Rira!

1) How would you describe the food that Rira Irish Pub serves?
::: "Traditional Irish Fare coupled with American bar classics."

2) What is one interesting characteristic about Rira Irish Pub that sets it apart from other restaurants in Midtown?
:::"Authenticity. Everything in the restaurant has been dismantled from shipyards in Ireland. Everything has a story behind it." (More on this below)

3) @GoKTGo Question : Are all your employees brought over from Ireland?
:::"About half of our employees came over from Ireland. They are here on a 12 month Visa.

4) @GoKTGo Question : Do they bring employees over from Ireland for all the Rira's in America or just the Atlanta location?
:::"Yes, they bring them over for all the locations in America."

5) How did you select the employees to bring over to the Atlanta Rira?
:::" We recruit people in Ireland, hold interviews, place ads in local newspapers, and eventually offer the ones we have selected the job!"

6) I then asked one of the servers from Ireland, James, about how he has adjusted to the American lifestyle.
:::"It was a pretty easy adjustment. Being away from my family has been hard though. Christmas was also interesting here in America. Back in Ireland, everything is closed for a whole week surrounding Christmas. Here in America, everything is just closed on Christmas day. That definitely took a lot of adjusting too."

7) What is your favorite beer that you serve and why?
::: "Guinness. We have the perfect pint. We take the production and service of our Guinness very seriously. We do a traditional 2 part pour. We put a lot of money into the care of the beer. We always make sure it is served at the correct temperature. We even do a training of our staff on how to pour the perfect Guinness for our guests."

8) What is your most popular item on the menu?
::: "Fish and chips. Our food is made from scratch, nothing is ever frozen. The fish and chips is very popular because it is made with fresh cod. "

9) Tell me more about the structure and design of your restaurant.
:::"Our floors come from the same shipyard where the Titanic was built in Belfast. The bar comes from salvage yards and old churches in the 1900's. Our front doors came from a clothing shop in Dublin. These doors are 250 years old. Our bookshelves are also over 100 years old. Everything in Rira has a story behind it. We also merge the American and Irish culture in Rira. We have pictures of people of Irish decent in Atlanta like Margaret Mitchell whose family came from over to America from Ireland. Our back Harbor Bar is from a Shop Bar in Ireland. See in Ireland, shops were people buy their necessities are often attached to a bar. So while they are there shopping, they can have a pint as well. Our Harbor bar is part of one of these half and half shop bars in Port Stewart, Ireland."

10) How did you (Spencer) become the manager of the Atlanta Rira Irish Pub?
:::" I have been working for Rira for 10 years. I worked at Rira through college and evenually began to open up some of the restaurants in other parts of the country."

11) Are Ireland natives offended by the "Irish Car Bomb" drink?
::: "Haha, I personally do not take offense to it but back in Ireland many of the older generations finds the saying extremely offensive."

12) What has impressed you about America?
:::"The people here are so wonderful. They are so nice and have impressed me."

13)We love Irish pubs here in America. Is American food as popular in Ireland?
:::"Yes, we have a bunch of American diners in Ireland and they all have jukeboxes in them. We have an Eddie Rockets in Ireland which is similar to the Johnny Rockets here in America. It is always crowded and attracts a lot of families. In the big cities there are a lot of American diners like TGIFridays. We also have a big diner chain in Ireland called Captain America. They are pretty popular."

14) @DatealiciousATL Question -Will you be having any viewing parties for the World Cup?
:::"We have had all the World Cup qualifiers on our televisions and will continue to show all the World Cup games."

15) I then asked one of the waitresses: What is your best experience in Atlanta?
:::"We have gone to see the Hawks, Thrashers, Falcons, Braves, and even the U2 Concert. My favorite experience was the Lady Gaga concert at the Fox Theatre and we actually got to meet her!"

16) If you had to pick one other Midtown restaurant that you enjoy what would it be and why?
:::"Definitely the Vortex. They are awesome! They have great food, great beer lise, and no nonsense. The Vortex would definitely be our sister restaurant in Midtown."

17) Weekly specials at Rira Irish Pub?
:::"Happy hour is everyday from 4-7pm. We have $4 Harp and Yuengling and also our signature drink called 12th and Crescent."

18) Weekly events or entertainment?
:::"Yes, every Tuesday night we have our Pub Quiz. We also have live music Wednesday and Thursday night. We have live bands as well on the weekends.

19) @AGirlNamedSEW Question - What are your vegetarian options on the menu?
:::"I am actually a vegetarian myself. We do have a veggie burger even though it is not listed on the menu. You can also turn in burger that is on the menu into a veggie burger. My favorite thing to do is put a veggie burger inside the reuben sandwich. We also have hummus wraps and nachos without the meat."

20) I then asked one of the waitresses was has been one thing that is drastically different in America than in Ireland?
:::"Apartments! It is so weird that you have to furnish apartments here in Atlanta. Back in Ireland, if you were apartment searching everything would be furnished. It would be crazy to rent an apartment if they didn't already provide you a bed. It is so weird here that you look for apartments and the rooms are empty. Furniture is expensive!"



Great post! I got a lesson on RiRa *and* Irish culture!

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