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Luck of the Irish

Side Dishes: Pub to open in Northfield


Published July 6, 2011 at 7:30 a.m.

An authentic Irish pub opens this August in Northfield. Owners John Lyon and Kevin Pecor are shooting for an August 1 debut for the Knotty Shamrock, but, says Lyon, “Both Kevin and I agree, we’re going to open when everything is done the way we want it to be done. It’s a fun project, and we want to take our time to get it right.”

One could say the pair have already taken their time: The Northfield natives have been best friends since age 7. Both have backgrounds in business: Lyon co-owns Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre, while Pecor is a business analyst for the state of Vermont. Both also have Irish heritage — and a taste for corned beef and Guinness.

Diners will find those items at the Knotty Shamrock. Guinness will be among six beers on tap at the shamrock-emblazoned bar, encompassing Irish favorites and Vermont microbrews. Lyon says the opening menu includes corned beef, Irish stew, and bangers and mash, along with American pub classics. “In this kind of market, you’ve got to offer a little bit for everybody,” he notes. “If [the menu] were all traditional Irish, it wouldn’t be as successful.”

He adds that most of the food will be prepared from scratch and locally sourced. Lyon and Pecor are close to hiring a chef, and they’re in talks with local farms to supply the beef for what they hope will be “the best burger in central Vermont.” As their likely chef finds a groove, the owners say, he will start making the corned beef and pastrami entirely from scratch.

Leon and Pecor say they want to give diners an authentic experience of Ireland. That goal entailed hiring an architect to remake the downtown space between the Economy Store and a laundromat into a pub worthy of the streets of Cork, from which Lyon’s family hails. Lyon hopes the food will follow suit. “If you’ve been to Ireland, the food is hearty, and it’s not extravagant,” he says. “Presentation is nice, but it’s still based on hearty, quality food that fills you up and tastes good.”

If all goes well, winters in Northfield are bound to feel a whole lot warmer this year.