Tullamore Crew: Bringing a Bit of Ireland to You, One Bite at a Time
When The Shanachie Irish Pub and Restaurant closed its doors for good at the end of March, it wasn’t just the patrons who were sad to see this local gathering place close. After spending more than 8 years together, the folks who prepared and served the food felt like more of a family than a workplace full of co-workers. After all, they’d spent holidays together, even survived last year’s flood in Ambler together. So, one evening in the waning weeks counting down to The Shanachie’s end of days, a brainstorming session by the restaurant’s staff brought them to a light-bulb moment.
If we cater it, they will come.
And the Tullamore Crew Catering Company was born.
“It was really heartbreaking for us when The Shanachie closed,” Crissy Farley, former Shanachie server/bartender/manager and one of the Tullamore Crew’s founders, explained.
“It was our home. When something would happen to one of us, we would automatically show up at The Shanachie. We spent every New Year’s together; some of us have known each other since before we started at The Shanachie.
“We knew that in a community where people are really enthusiastic about their Irish heritage, that if we marketed ourselves, we could find a way to bring what people had loved about The Shanachie directly to the public.”
And that is exactly what they have done. It was Farley, along with fellow Shanachie expat Cynthia Farley, and former Shanachie head chef, Chef Paul,who took the lead in founding the new venture.
Last weekend, Tullamore Crew offered the Irish community an opportunity to sample their menu at a food tasting at The Commodore Barry Club in Mt. Airy. The event sold out, and with good reason. In a word, that reason is “Yum!”
“Chef Paul is originally from Dublin. He is amazing. He came up with the curry chicken recipe; Indian food is very popular in Ireland. You’ll find traditional Irish items on our menu, like shepherd’s pie, beef stew and steak and Guinness pie, but also appetizers like mini bangers in a blanket (they’re real bangers, imported from Ireland) and bite-sized fish and chips.”
There’s also a section of the menu called “Drunken Entree Options” that offers a choice of meat and fish served in their signature Tullamore whiskey sauce. Named after several of the Crew’s children, you can opt for Maddy Ohara’s Baked Breast of Chicken, or Mackenzie Murphy’s Marinated Pork.
The tasting event at The Irish Center confirmed that Tullamore Crew has fulfilled their pledge to bring the best of The Shanachie, and more, to the community. The trays of mini crab cakes didn’t always make it past the line of people queued up for seconds on the curry chicken. When the desserts came around, no one wanted to choose between the chocolate cake, the apple cobbler or the rice pudding. So they tried a bit of everything. A few times. Every member of the Tullamore Crew team was on deck, including Sherri Timlin-Windhaus, daughter of former Shanachie owner and music legend Gerry Timlin. She’s one of the Crew’s managers. It’s truly a group effort and a labor of love.
“After we knew The Shanachie was closing, Paul became the chef at the Hinge Cafe in Port Richmond. It was around February that we came up with the idea, and things took off almost immediately. The owner of Hinge, T. DeLuca, helped make this happen; he partnered with us. He lets us use his space, and has taken us under their umbrella.
“Our first job was catering a jewelry party for a friend, Chef Paul made all the food. Out of that, we got booked to do a reception for a wedding. They loved it! And word started spreading through the grapevine,” Farley said.
“The menu is really versatile. We will tailor a menu to your budget. People have asked us why we don’t have prices on our website and brochures; it’s because we can work with what you can afford. We’re able to do everything from showers to tea parties, weddings, Irish brunches. Even whiskey tastings! You can have a St. Patrick’s Day celebration any day of the year.”
And, Farley added, “We are part of a coalition in the city, an urban gardening foundation. We use all organic, locally grown produce and products.”
“We’re still coming up with new ideas. The other day we thought up the idea of a mashed potato bar. We’re gonna keep this thing going.”
To book Tullamore Crew for an event, and to peruse their menu, check out their website: Tullamore Crew Catering Company
And, follow them on Facebook: Tullamore Crew on Facebook