Embracing the Irish

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With two years in business under their belts, Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant owners Sean and Michelle Lackey are staying true to their mission to serve the finest, scratch-made pub food to the masses. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Laura Briedis

St. Patrick’s Day is already one of the biggest parties of the year. Throw in an anniversary celebration and Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant is the place to be on March 17.

Located in a historic home built in the late 1800s, which was once a general store with hitching posts out front, this locally owned restaurant exudes charm along with a European pub atmosphere. 

Celebrating its second anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day is especially fitting, since owner Sean Lackey’s mother was born in County Clare and his father in County Cavan, Ireland. 

“St. Patrick’s Day is his feast and our birth, but we really celebrate 365 days a year,” says Sean, a first-generation American. He notes that Gandalf’s features Irish favorites like Corned Beef Boxtys, Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Nachos on the menu year-round. 

“More than just an Irish flavor, our cuisine has European influences, too,” he adds. 


Executive Chef Edward West cooks up hearty comfort food in this cozy neighborhood eatery, which was named after Sean and his wife Michelle’s rescued hound dog.

From Blackened Chicken Alfredo to Lake Erie Perch, Beef Stroganoff and Pub Burgers with 100 percent Certified Angus Beef, everything is made from scratch.


“We are a scratch kitchen,” explains Michelle, noting Gandalf’s does not have a microwave.  “From our hand-cut fries seasoned with seven spices to our portobello mushrooms marinated in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for four days to our 11 homemade salad dressings, our emphasis is on fresh fare.”


“Our mixologists even make our own bitters from herbs grown in our garden to use in our cocktails,” adds Sean.

Just like everything else at the restaurant, the Sunday Brunch affords a unique dining experience, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Sunday. Not just your typical brunch items, the chef prepares Irish Eggs Benedict with Corned Beef Hash, Spanish Omelets with Chorizo and Tomatoes, and Berry Foster French Toast, among other breakfast favorites.


The brunch fare is complemented by a Bloody Mary bar and handcrafted cocktails. 

The restaurant owners also work with a sommelier to select wines from around the globe, and have a Guinness Beer Tap System that uses a nitrogen/CO2 blend to keep the brew tasting fresh.

“Whether you are going out for brunch, lunch or dinner, or just want to stop in for a drink, we welcome everyone to our pub,” invites Michelle.

Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant is located at 6757 Center Road in Valley City. Dining hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For reservations, call 330-483-1190. Visit GandalfsPub.com.