Parkville Welcomes a Homey Irish Pub

What's the Craic?

If there are two things that the Irish know, it's booze and potatoes. It's fitting then that one of Parkville's newest watering holes has a handle on both. The Craic on Main, located at 12 Main Street has spent the winter building a menu of favorites and a cast of regulars that gives it that Cheers vibe. It's exactly what Parkville has been missing. 

The Craic, which is an Irish term that loosely translates to 'fun' opened last August during Parkville Days. The bar is the latest project by Rich Kasyjanski, a partner in the Crossroads brewpub, Brewery Emperial. He learned a lot from his partner at BE, renowned Chef Ted Habiger, and has tried to create a menu of delicious, wholesome food, full of dishes that reflect the Irish theme while remaining accessible to everyone. 

The Craic's menu is small but well rounded, including items that Kasyjanski enjoys himself.

"I hear people say that they hate beets all the time, but when they try my roasted golden beet Panzanella salad, suddenly they don't hate them anymore," he laughs. He's particularly proud of their hand-cut french fries and the Brussels Sprouts chips as well. He also offers a small breakfast menu that includes corned beef hash, a Yankee breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Irish oatmeal, all served until 11 a.m. 

A strong spirits and beer menu is also a theme. With 28 Irish whiskeys available and a mix of Irish beers and local favorites from Brewery Emperial, Crane, and Casual Animal, the Craic has created a menu that can accommodate everyone. 

I first stumbled into the Craic on a Friday evening. I found a bustling room, every table full and just a few spots left at the bar. Three televisions tuned to sports offer some conversation fodder but the live music was a bigger draw. The Craic features live music every Friday and Saturday nights and updates their performance schedule via their Facebook page. 

My first dish to try was the aforementioned Brussels sprouts chips. The vegetables are cleaned, separated and blanched then fried until crispy. With a healthy dose of parmesan cheese, these were alternately soft and crispy with just the right salty bite. 

On a subsequent visit, breakfast called my name.  While you won't find black pudding on the menu (a shame, really), there is an Irish breakfast that includes tomatoes, mushrooms, beans, bacon and sausage and your choice of eggs along with either toast or fruit. I opted for the corned beef hash, which was a lovely bowl full of carbs with perfectly crisp potatoes intermixed with chunks of corned beef, topped with a runny egg. It hit the spot. 

For lunch or dinner, the menu features several handheld options including a Reuben, a patty melt, and a meltie (grilled cheese), as well as a Chixn Sammitch. Their version of a chicken sandwich features buttermilk brined roasted chicken breast topped with swiss cheese, red onion, tomato, arugula, and bacon and smeared with mustard aioli. The blend of flavors is perfect, as is the pillow-soft ciabatta bun. With a side of those hand-cut fries, this sandwich hits the spot. 

The menu also features a few entrees including beef stew made with Guinness, Guinness-battered fish and chips, and lamb chili. Desserts change daily. 

The Craic fits well into downtown Parkville-its small size and friendly vibe is practically an analogy for the town itself. The building even features three AirBnBs upstairs for guests that want to take full advantage of downtown Parkville's walkability. 

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