Big crowds expected at Irish restaurants

Published On: Mar 17 2014 05:37:26 AM EDT

Several Irish restaurants on the First Coast are prepping for big business on St. Paddy's Day.

“We're expecting the biggest day of the entire year. We've done a lot of hard work and preparations to get ready for this. It looks to be a lot of fun,” said Matt Jacoby.

The folks at Donovan's Irish Pub in Saint Augustine are preparing for their sixth Saint Patrick's Day celebration. They've learned a lot since the first one.

“We offered a full menu, which was a mistake. We couldn't keep up with it. After that we offered just the Irish dishes. People start coming as soon as we open the doors at 11,” said Maureen Bellantoni, owner of Donovan’s.

It's all hands on deck Monday. The whole staff is coming in, they're setting up more tables and taking out all the bar chairs so people can stand. Even though it'll be a party, the staff wants to make sure everyone is safe.

“Our service and bartenders and managers are very good at keeping an eye on people who may have too much to drink. The cab service is on us. If you've had too much to drink, cab comes, drive you home. We like to play it safe at the same time,” said Jacoby.

While you enjoy your green beer, corned beef and shepherd's pie, don't be surprised if you see a leprechaun in the crowd.

“I saw one last year, so hopefully,” said Jacoby.

Donovan's opens at 11 a.m. Monday and is located on 7440 US 1 in Saint Augustine.
There are other Irish restaurants in Jacksonville celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

They include Fionn MacCool's at The Landing, O'brother's in Riverside, Lynch's in Jacksonville Beach, and Culhane's in Atlantic Beach.


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