Pat Troy turns over Ireland's Own to longtime employee Scott Holdt.
Photo by Jeanne Theismann.
Friends and supporters — and even some former enemies — gathered at Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own Restaurant last weekend to say goodbye. After decades in business as one of the most outspoken businessmen in the city, the irascible Irishman has sold the business to two of his employees — general manager Scott Holdt and receptionist Maggie Keane. The restaurant will now be known as Ireland’s Own, dropping Pat Troy’s name from the operation. But it’s clear that his spirit will inhabit the restaurant forever.
“The menu will be changed, and there’s been some talk of a paint job,” said Troy. “But all the stuff in the restaurant is my property.”
That stuff includes an array of military uniforms and paraphernalia, an indication of Troy’s love for the armed forces. It also includes a number of items related to President Ronald Reagan’s storied visit to the restaurant in 1988. Perhaps what’s most appealing about the restaurant, though, is its intangible quality — the sense of importance that was recognized Sunday night by the deputy ambassador to Ireland, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Councilman Frank Fannon among many others.
“We haven’t always seen eye to eye,” acknowledged Mayor Bill Euille. “But Pat has dedicated himself to this city.”
TROY ISN’T NECESSARILY one to hold a grudge, but he also isn’t one to forget a perceived slight. His memoir includes an extended section about a late 1990s fight with City Hall about the relocation of his restaurant. The Irishman wanted to move the operation from North Royal Street to North Lee Street. But neighborhood residents opposed the move and members of the City Council cast a four-to-three vote against Troy.
“I’ll never forget the bitterness over that,” Troy wrote. “It was a terrible time.”
Now, in the fullness of time, that anger had receded. And now Troy is looking forward to a life of retirement away from the constant headaches of running a restaurant. And because he sold the businesses to former employees, he’ll be able to participate in the life of the restaurant — and even show up from time to time. But he made one thing clear: Sunday night’s performance of the infamous “Unicorn Song” will be his swan song.
“This is what I would love for my funeral,” said Kathleen Molloy, Troy’s daughter.