“Local Tastemakers” is a collection of intimate interviews exploring Newport Beach’s flavor and flair through the eyes of the city’s most captivating chefs and restaurateurs during a time that has heavily impacted the restaurant and hospitality communities. Follow along every week to get to know familiar faces and the secrets to the dish that made them a locals’ favorite.
Muldoon’s Irish Pub has been a Newport Beach staple since the establishment opened in 1974, and Mary Murphy is a familiar face to many locals who call this place their local watering hole. Originally born and raised in Cork, Ireland, Mary pursued her interests in hospitality early on and landed in the United States. After answering an ad in the Orange County Register, Mary started at Muldoon’s as a hostess and has worked hard over the years to earn the title of General Manager.
She is happy to call many of her patrons’ friends and loves watching generations of guests come visit throughout the years. Many miles away from Ireland, Newport Beach has become a home away from home to Mary and the members of Muldoon’s a second family. On her days off, she enjoys walking her dog around the scenic Back Bay and along the Newport Beach boardwalk. When asked about the best thing about Newport Beach, spoken like a true local, she answered: “The weather.”
General Manager Mary Murphy & Muldoon’s Irish Pub
Why/how did you get into the restaurant industry?
I answered an ad in the Orange County Register back in the day, and was lucky to get hired at what I considered to be Orange County’s #1 pub. I started as a hostess and worked my way up to General Manager. I have so many fond memories throughout the years, and have met many friends along the way. Muldoon’s is my home.
What is the best part of your job?
We love to see generations of families come visit. I enjoy seeing familiar faces come in from when they were toddlers and now, they are all grown up and ordering pints!
What is the most popular thing on the menu and what is your favorite?
My favorite thing on the menu is the Atlantic Salmon, served with homemade mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. Our Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips are all fan favorites!
Looking Back at 2020
Taking you back to March 2020, tell us what the first month of the pandemic was like for your restaurant?
All of us at Muldoon’s were so disappointed we didn’t get to throw our Annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities last year. Due to the pandemic, we had to close our doors temporarily on March 16, 2020. We’re hoping to make up for it this year in a safe and smaller way on our outdoor patio.
I haven’t missed a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the restaurant since I became part of the Muldoon’s family. Our outdoor patio becomes a sea of green every year and it’s wonderful to see people commemorate their Irish Heritage with us!
The Silver Lining
What is your ultimate hope for 2021?
I hope this year people are able to socialize joyously again.When you step into Muldoon’s, you really feel like you are taken away on a faraway journey to Ireland. The pub is an important part of Irish culture – we get together to tell a story, sing a song and drink a pint or two.
Also, I’m hoping to go back to Ireland this year to see family. It’ll be the perfect opportunity to tune up my accent! Slainte!