They say you can’t please everybody. And while that may be true overall, in the restaurant business you certainly can please most people if you focus on improving. And that’s exactly what Tim Cusumano did when he bought McGettigan’s 19th Hole, the iconic bar and grill located just across from the Seaview Golf Club in Galloway.
Cusumano, who also owns Smithville Village’s uber-popular pizza shop Costello’s Pizzeria & Wings, took over the reins in February of last year and got to work bringing in some big changes. He installed new floors and updated the décor inside. Then, after COVID struck, an entirely new outdoor dining area was created, complete with a hip and rustic looking shipping container bar and an assortment of tables, each socially distanced from one another. But most importantly, a reimagining of the menu was the key to the rebirth at McGettigan’s.
Not everyone welcomed the change.
“I got rid of the liverwurst, and a few of the older clients complained,” Cusumano says with a chuckle. “But for every complaint about the liverwurst being gone, I get 50 saying how happy they are with the changes we made.”
Liverwurst aficionados aside, the menu at McGettigan’s is a real crowd pleaser, and Cusumano did the smart thing by bringing over one of the most popular items at Costello’s – the buffalo wings.
“I thought if I came in and put some Costello’s stuff in there that it would really turn out well. I think our first Instagram post for McGettigan’s said ‘Costello’s wings – now with beer!’” Cusumano remembers.
Though the recipe for the much-loved wing sauce is not a Cusumano creation – it dates back to the original owners of Costello’s who sold the business 10 years ago – it’s nevertheless a staple of the brand and has been incorporated into the menu at McGettigan’s in both wing and tail form as well as an ingredient in various other apps and entrees. Some of the tastiest ones to feature it include the buffalo cauliflower ($9.99), buffalo nachos ($9.99) and perhaps the most decadent and delicious of them all, the Grown Up Mac & Cheese ($12.99), which takes a creamy, homemade baked mac and cheese base and kicks it up about 10 notches by adding sliced cubes of lightly breaded buffalo tails along with breadcrumbs and more of their mild buffalo sauce. It’s one of the tastiest menu options for those not worried about their waistline.
Getting your Irish up
Of course with St. Paddy’s Day right around the corner we would be foolish not to mention the Irish offerings at McGettigan’s. The everyday menu features a savory and hearty shepherd’s pie ($12.99) as well as the Irish Cheesesteak ($10.99), an incredibly flavorful and unique take on the Philly classic, which really stands out thanks to a seeded bun, some perfectly fried onions and their house-made Guinness beer cheese sauce, which you are definitely going to want a side of to dip your fries in.
Just in time for St. Paddy’s Day, they are also adding a number of Irish specials, including an Irish potato soup ($5.99); an Irish burger topped with corned beef, mashed potatoes and Guinness cheese sauce ($11.99); a classic fish and chips ($11.99); and corned beef and cabbage, which will be available as its own entrée served with red potatoes ($13.99) or in egg roll form ($9.99).
As for the normal menu, the apps list alone is enough to make anyone drool, with options like pretzel sticks served with a Smithwick’s cheese sauce and spicy whole grain mustard for dipping ($8.99); crispy Brussels sprouts which are well roasted and mixed with parmesan and bacon and served with a tahini yogurt dressing ($10.99); and two varieties of egg rolls – cheesesteak ($8.99) and mac & cheese ($9.99), the latter made with an egg roll wrapper stuffed with the aformentioned Grown Up Mac & Cheese.
A full line of deli style cold subs are offered, with options like roast beef and cheese and pastrami on rye with mustard ($8.99 each) sharing space with hot options like the French dip ($9.99) or the grilled chicken bruschetta ($10.99), which features a grilled chicken breast topped with provolone cheese and their signature Philly-style bruschetta all on a brioche bun.
And what great bar and grill would be complete without a full lineup of burgers? McGettigan’s offers everything from the classic American burger topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and your choice of cheese ($9.99) to the Black & Bleu ($10.99), a burger made with blackened seasoning, bacon and a homemade gorgonzola cheese sauce. There are even two types of turkey burgers ($11.99 each) offered for those looking to avoid red meat.
Entrees include chicken parm served with a side of penne pasta ($13.99) ; and both roast beef and turkey dinners, which come with mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies ($14.99 each).
The food is not the only area that has been kicked up a notch at McGettigan’s. The cocktail menu as of late has been the area for some real creativity and inspiration, thanks to a partnership between Cusumano and his top bartender.
“I work with C.J. Blake, who is a really great bartender,”Cusumano says. Last year he got back from hiking for six months on the Appalachian Trail, and it worked out that right as he was getting back I was opening up here. So he came to work for me, and he is very very good at what he does. We have fun messing around with all kinds of ideas for cocktails. We did a Girl Scout cookie martini that really took off. Stuff like that. We try to use fresh ingredients as much as possible and stay away from the bottled things. That is what we do with the food, so we decided to do the same with the drinks and it’s been great.”