Enjoy a Pint and Shepherd’s Pie at Finn’s Public House

ELLSWORTH — Longtime chef and restaurateur J. P. Taillon opened an Irish pub on Main Street last week, just in time for the 250th anniversary of Guinness Beer.

Taillon, who owns Spot Grill in Bar Harbor, has opened Finn’s Irish Public House in the former Maidee’s location with partners Jennifer Kempthorne and urchin fisherman Sam Glass.

Finn’s is open Monday through Saturday for lunch, dinner and drinks.

While traditional Irish pub food is offered, there is evidence on the menu of Taillon’s culinary training in Italy.

For example, one appetizer is the Finn sampler: fresh mozzarella wheels, long-stem baby artichokes, roasted garlic potato salad, marinated tomatoes and roasted eggplant for $7.50.

Taillon, who hails from the San Francisco Bay area of California, studied under the chef Alice Waters at the famed Chez Panisse. While earning a degree in wine-making from the University of California-Davis, he spent a great amount of time in the wine country and “hanging out at French Laundry,” which is another legendary restaurant.

“I spent my teens and college years in some phenomenal kitchens,” said Taillon. “I really just fell in love.”

Both Taillon and Kempthorne said Finn’s will be a family place where people will be welcome to bring children.

“It’s not a ruckus bar,” said Taillon. “It’s a place for adults to have dinner and hear music.”

Finn’s Irish Pub will feature live music — Celtic, jazz and folk — several nights a week. The owners are also exploring the possibility of having poetry night once a month.

It’s a place for good food and good beer.

Guinness is served along with Harp and Smithwick in addition to a wide variety of whiskies.

To go with the drinks, Finn’s will serve traditional Irish fare, including bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie.

Taillon said lots of fresh seafood will be available. Meat is coming from Smokehouse of Boston, which he described as “the highest quality.”

“One of the things we’re going to focus on is a downtown quick, inexpensive lunch,” said Taillon. For example, a half-pound burger is available for $5.50.

Lorena Stearns, owner of Town Baker, will be making the desserts including Guinness Chocolate Cake.

Finn’s, which opened Sept. 24, appears to be off to a good start.

“Last night we were packed,” said Taillon. “People were happy, so we’re excited.”

Taillon and Kempthorne are doing all of the cooking along with head chef Michael Paola.

Finn’s Irish Public House is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Tel: 667-2808.

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