New ownership has brought a few changes to a nearly century-old South Jersey Irish pub including a new name and a more globally-inspired menu.
O’Donnell’s 1923 Pub & Grill at 401 N. Broadway in Gloucester City, Camden County, has been in operation since one-time lightweight boxing champion Joe O’Donnell opened the establishment in 1923.
It will now be known as O’Donnell’s Restaurant & Bar under its new owner, Likissa Hunde, an Ethiopian-born educator and economist who emigrated to the United States in 2009. He found himself in Gloucester City about eight years ago.
Hunde purchased the property back in July 2015 from Irene Delimaris.
Along with the new name, Hunde also brought to the fold New York chef, and Jersey City native, Darryl Harmon to revamp the menu.
West Africa-born Chef Issaka Fofana will run the kitchen and execute the Harmon-designed menu. Fofana, raised in France, was formerly the sous chef at Center City restaurant Twenty Manning Grill.
The 150-seat, 4,800-square-foot restaurant underwent a $300,000 renovation, and a name change to show there was an upgrade given to the menu offerings, according to Hunde.
Hunde said he felt that Harmon and Fofana have helped dramatically upgrade the cuisine, and that going from a “pub and grill” to a “restaurant and bar” reflects the changes made.
Passersby may not have noticed changes were made at all if it weren’t for the name change, according to Hunde, who said he wanted to reflect that in the brand identity.
The new menu has a number of global influences, and there may be potential to “honor” Hunde’s roots by introducing Ethiopian cuisine in the future, according to chef Harmon.
The restaurant will also be adding locally-brewed craft beers and distilled spirits along with a so-called bar bites menu.
O’Donnell’s will be able to accommodate up to 500 people for indoor and outdoor events that spill over into the parking lot, which Hunde is planning for the spring, summer and fall seasons.