HIGHWOOD – It’s been two years since Bridie McKenna’s closed after a seven-year run, but Highwood’s days without an Irish pub are numbered. Jim Stoecker, the owner of Alex’s Washington Gardens, will soon open Ginger’s at the former Bridie McKenna’s site next door.
“I think every area needs an Irish pub,” said Stoecker. “I look forward to restarting an Irish tavern, and the woodwork at Bridie McKenna’s is very authentic.” Stoecker is a world traveler who has made frequent trips to Ireland.
Because of the detailed and elaborate woodwork, Stoecker said it would cost thousands of dollars to “de-Irish” the restaurant, and remodeling is not necessary. Stoecker and his business partner Steve Saks took possession about a month ago, and are doing a thorough cleaning in preparation for the opening.
“I decided I wasn’t brave enough to do it all by myself,” said Stoecker. “My business partner is a great guy, and he’s fun to work with. He’ll make it possible to run both restaurants.”
Is the ginger-haired owner of Alex’s Washington Gardens Irish?
“I am now,” said O’Stoecker who explained that Ginger’s was named earlier this month during Highwood’s Redhead Days when he was tossing around names with a friend who had an aunt named Ginger.
Stoecker said the ambience and beverages will be Irish, but the basic menu will be “simple pub food, because not many people will eat kidney pie.” Ginger’s will offer specials on certain days of the week “with a few nods” like fish-and- chips and corned beef and cabbage.
The offerings will also feature a few items from Alex’s Washington Garden’s, menu including crispy thin crust pizza along with one or two appetizers.
“We’ve had a record year at Alex’s,” said Stoecker. “May was our best month ever.”
Stoecker can also be seen manning a booth with dishes from Alex’s Washington Gardens at Highwood Evening Market on Wednesday evenings through August 31 at Everts Park.
Stoecker said the City of Highwood issued a liquor license and he hopes to get the liquor license from the state this week, so the pub patio can open on Friday, July 1.
“I’m not sure when the kitchen will open, and I can’t promise we’ll be serving any food this Friday,” he said. “Our goal is to open Ginger’s as soon as possible to enjoy the outdoor patio.”
In the meantime, hungry patrons can always order a pizza to go at Alex’s Washington Gardens to take next door for a dining al fresco experience at Ginger’s.
Ginger’s will be located at 254 Green Bay Road in Highwood between the site that previously housed Bertucci’s and Alex’s Washington Gardens.