The Irish are known story tellers, but this is no tall tale: the quickest way to become a regular at Katie O'Donald's in Bluffton is to walk up on the patio, order a drink and introduce yourself around. Soon, patrons at the informal eatery with the only blarney stone in town will become friends.
To those driving by, it looks like there's always a party at Katie O'Donald's, where the outdoor tables in front of the restaurant are usually full no matter the weather. The same classic tunes playing in the bar and dining room are piped through speakers outside, and there are heaters for the winter and fans blowing in hot weather.
Regular customer Doug Hoover says his friends from Katie O'Donald's are also his camping buddies, house sitters when he's on vacation, and confidants.
"It's kind of like Cheers. We even have Christmas together," he said, adding that the pub's patrons enjoy welcoming newcomers.
Owner Donald Carroll named his pub after his son Donald and daughter Katie. Formerly the owner of 12 eateries in New York, he says his formula for success in Bluffton is simple:
"I have fun at this store. We have good food, large portions and are comfortably priced," he said, adding that Katie O'Donald's also has "the coldest beer in town." Obviously, Guinness is a house favorite, but many other domestic and imported brews are available.
Carroll and Tom Schnaitman opened Katie O'Donald's in 1996â€"before the traffc light at Moss Creek, when U.S. 278 ended at S.C. 170 and there weren't many places to eat or drink in Bluffton. But the two friends were confident the town was on its way to booming, and they were right.
One of the restaurant's specialty dishes is corned beef and cabbage on Wednesday nights. This traditional Irish dish is made by simmering corned beef in a Dutch oven with red potatoes and cabbage. The fish and chips at Katie O'Donalds are well known because the cod is rolled in a batter made with Guinness before it's deep fried. Another popular menu choice is the piled-high grilled Reuben sandwichâ€"both the traditional thinly sliced corned beef on rye with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing, and a version of this classic made with turkey. And be sure to check out the daily lunch specials.
Katie O'Donald's also offers a popular breakfast brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, with excellent made from- scratch Bloody Marys for $3.