Jason May’s newest restaurant endeavor reflects the convergence of several parts of his life.
It’s the third bar he’s been a key player in, having acted as a bartender and then manager and owner of other pubs since he was 18. And the Bryn Mawr Street location of his latest venture serves as a homecoming for the West Scranton native, who opened the Angry Irishman in November 2018 with co-owners Danny Genevich and Jerry Haggerty.
Even the extensive renovations that went into the place — from new floors to the installation of several big-screen TVs to all new kitchen equipment — harkens back to his family’s long history in the construction and rehabilitation of local historic buildings.
May grew up two blocks from the Angry Irishman, which used to be Villa Maria I, then the Vaudeville Inn and, most recently, Casey’s, and watched as the building and business changed hands and styles through the years. When the opportunity to take it on arose, May saw it as a chance to reinvest in his hometown neighborhood.
“I used to go here for years as a kid,” he said on a recent afternoon. “The crowd was always great — it was a great St. Ann’s area bar. I put a few bucks in to clean it up and went from traditional Italian cuisine to our bar food.
“I wanted to bring back a comfortable neighborhood bar. Go back to an older-school feel.”
With throwbacks like $2 frosted mugs and affordable pricing found on the menu, he’s accomplished that goal. The most modern thing about the Angry Irishman’s offerings is the decision to take standard hoagies and sandwiches and turn them into signature flatbreads.
The Cheeseburger Flatbread, for instance, has all the hallmarks of a classic sandwich — such as pickles, tomato and cheese — but pairs it with sriracha ketchup, while the Cheesesteak Flatbread tops seasoned, chopped meat with an A1 aioli.
Other notable features on the menu include the Union Steak Sammy, which serves up beef tenderloin, sauteed onion, and mozzarella and provolone cheeses on a crispy roll; and the house wings, which are celebrated with two Wing Nights a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The Angry Irishman welcomes sports fans with its subscription to the college football package, meaning guests can catch all the weekend action on multiple screens.
“We needed to get people out of the chains (and) give them a good, local place to watch a Penn State game,” May said.
In addition to football, the Angry Irishman occasionally hosts acoustic music on the weekends, and games such as pool, cornhole and darts can be found within.
The name reflects May’s proud ancestry, and his work restoring the bar was a great reminder of all those who came before him, he said. During renovations, he found minutes from coal miners’ union meetings and shillings behind the bar. He plans to honor their traditions of loyalty and strong work ethics with how he does business in West Side.
“We put a lot of effort into food more so than funky drinks,” May said. “And I love these old buildings. Everybody wants to move out of here, but I think it’s important to stay.
“It’s a very proud, blue-collar neighborhood, very family-oriented. Where people work hard for what they have.”
The Angry Irishman
Address: 1259 Bryn Mawr St., Scranton
Established: Nov. 21, 2018
Owners: Jason May, Danny Genevich and Jerry Haggerty
Cuisine: Upscale bar food
Hours: Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to midnight; Fridays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Online: Visit the pub’s Facebook and Instagram page.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT