The Harp: Ohio City's Treasure
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The Harp: Ohio City's Treasure

The Harp features great Irish food, specialties made from scratch, including a Guinness Ice Cream Brownie Sundae.

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The Harp: Ohio City's Treasure
John O'Brien Jr.

Cleveland was built and thrived on the backs of immigrant sons: Italy, Ireland, Africa, Germany and more. Ireland has a special nostalgia to me; the sights and smells, the art of conversation, and of course, the music are my answers, when Ireland is calling to me. Having a place to relax, to chat and share a story, a safe haven among the bustling new world that so many of our relations came to for economic opportunity, became a part of the fabric of Cleveland.

In later years, when the immigration to Cleveland lessened, a lot of the local favorites gave way as our relations moved upward and outward. The ethnic neighborhoods became simply neighborhoods and the traditional immigrant gathering place, the pub, slowly disappeared, or fell under the banner of the new wave of “traditional Pubs,” also called franchises.

Flying in the face of this trend is The Harp Irish Pub and Restaurant. The instrument, the Harp, is the national symbol of Ireland, the only country in the world with an instrument as their national symbol. Traditional in atmosphere, warm in welcome and true to the traditions of the local pubs and gathering places of our immigrant forebears, The Harp offers substance in a fleeting world, and the tastes of Ireland are fast disappearing, here and across the pond.

The Harp’s staff have all been with The Harp long term, most at least five years, and a few have been with owner Karen O’Malley since The Harp opened its doors on May 1, 1999. Their long-term service “is a great part of our success,” says O’Malley. “We treat each customer as an honored guest. It’s what the O’Malley’s grew up with, and this friendship offering is extended to each guest at The Harp. The road has been a sweet and blessed one for O’Malley, one she is forever grateful for.

“We are so fortunate, we couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support of my parents and the great support of the community. When folks over from Achill come here, it’s a taste of home – where the Irish in Cleveland found a home, and it is great to bring the Irish visitors here to see that; that we hold them, and Ireland, dear in our hearts,” said O’Malley.

The Harp features great Irish food, specialties made from scratch from recipes passed down to O’Malley. The Irish soda bread is made daily on site, and The Harp was featured in the Wall Street Journal for its Guinness Ice Cream Brownie Sundae.

Live music from all over Cleveland and beyond is a Harp staple. Pitch the Peat, Porter Sharks, Boys from the County Hell, Chris Allen, Kristine Jackson and New Barleycorn are regularly featured, with live music each weekend. The Harp is active in the Irish and local community, and both have responded in return. The view, the warmth, the welcome; the poetry and the passion for great service – Kim, Katie, Joseph, Jamis, Proprietor Karen … They remember your name, your drink and how quickly you need a replacement. Live music, perfect for meetings and parties; a menu fresh, varied and so rich in flavor; and most of all, a pub gifted at creating great memories.

I am a man who likes to eat, and I have the body to prove it. With daily soup and sandwich specials, with a full and varied menu, The Harp is renowned for their comfort foods, balanced with salads, fruits, fresh fish and the massive boxty (a folded over potato pancake looking open mega sandwich) over loaded with a choice of middles – I choose corned beef or turkey. Even with my appetite, I know full well I will be taking half home.

The Clam Chowder is hearty and flavorful, like all the soups at The Harp; the corned beef egg rolls tasty; fish light and fluffy; flat bread pizza and on, and on. My favorite, though, is the crab cake sandwich or crab cake salad while sitting on the patio, telling stories and sipping Smithwicks, perhaps a cigar, while the city, standing before me, shimmers.

The Harp Restaurant & Pub is located at 4408 Detroit, in Cleveland. Check them out online too, at www.the-harp.com.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you; please share your story, with me.

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/ www.songsandstories.net www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews www.twitter.com/jobjr
Instagram: LiveMoreLifeBeMoreIrish

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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