With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s probably time to decide (if you haven’t already) where to take your dinner date. Dublin, Ohio, has restaurants that suit all  tastes – whether you prefer an upscale bistro, casual pub or groovy pizzeria. Here are a few of our favorites:

Arancini from Mezzo Dublin

Arancini from Mezzo Dublin

1. La Scala – An elegant Italian bistro featuring handmade pastas, gourmet pizzas, prime steaks, seafood entrees and more. Enjoy a nightly happy hour in their martini lounge and  live music throughout the week.

2. Mezzo – A Historic Dublin restaurant offering modern Italian cuisine and a full wine list. Try the weekly prix-fixe menu while admiring the beautiful interiors. If the weather is warmer, take your pick of three outdoor patios.

3. Oscars – A restaurant and wine bar on the north end of Historic Dublin with a menu featuring gourmet pastas, steaks, seafood and more. Listen to regularly scheduled live entertainment and / or enjoy some fresh air while sitting on the outdoor patio.

Ahi Tuna Flatbread from Matt the Miller's

Ahi Tuna Flatbread from Matt the Miller’s

4. Matt the Miller’s – An eatery serving tavern classics with a twist  and an extensive beer / wine selection. Visit throughout the week for $5 appetizers and drink specials during happy hour.

5. Dublin Village Tavern – A Historic Dublin watering hole featuring home-made tavern fare in large portions. Treat yourself to an Irish Egg Roll, Irish Car Bomb Brownie or a nice helping of Bangers & Mashed.

6. Mellow Mushroom – A funky pizzeria serving handmade pies (gluten-free available), hoagies, calzones and salads. Try The Marley, Hey Dude or other item unique to the Dublin / Polaris locations.

For more information on restaurants in Dublin, Ohio, visit www.IrishIsAnAttitude.com

~ Post by Dawn

This post comes from guest writer Gretchen Friend, Coordinator for the Historic Dublin Business Association.

Sláinte (pronounced SLON-CHA) is the Gaelic or Celtic equivalent of  the friendly toast, “Cheers” or “To your health!”  Just saying it out loud makes you wish you were Irish, huh?  In fact, many of the residents of Dublin,Ohio have embraced this vibrant culture from across the Atlantic by partaking in many of the traditions which makes Dublin,Ireland so interesting.

Next Thursday, May 19 marks the first Sláinte Thursday of 2011–a fun evening of cheer  in the the City’s Historic District. These exciting third Thursday celebrations are held throughout the summer months in Dublin, Ohio.  Beginning at 4 p.m., restaurants are buzzing with live music while shops and businesses ready for a steady stream of visitors to the area. Specials, open houses, children’s activities and food sampling create a swirl of activities for all ages.

Created for locals and visitors alike, a Sláinte Thursday celebration is just right for those warm summer nights. Live musical melodies at several locations throughout Historic Dublin lead people from place to place as they visit the district. My favorite is part of the evening is walking along the brick sidewalks under the canopy of shade trees. It’s so quaint, yet hip!  No one is pushing me to a deadline (unless it’s getting the last taste of a special in one of the many great restaurants).

The May 19th  Sláinte Thursday will feature a golf theme–a nod to the world-class PGA Memorial Tournament that Dublin, Ohio will host May 30-June 5.  During Sláinte Thursday folks can try their putting skills on nine greens placed around the Historic District. Knocking all the balls in the holes will give you a chance to win tickets to the Memorial Tournament or many other great gift certificates and prizes from Historic Dublin businesses. Live music by Rockbridge Crossing will play from the Frog Park, next to the Visitors Center (9 S. High St.)

Catch the Trolley as it passes by each hole, if the walk is too much for you. From 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. the Trolley loop will follow South High Street up to the library and back. Or just meander up and down the sidewalks, enjoying an ice cream or iced tea, a little patio dining, some great shopping and plenty o’ fun!   See you Thursday, May 19!    Sláinte!     

For more information about Sláinte Thursday, visit www.HistoricDublin.org or the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau website.

~Gretchen Friend, Historic Dublin Business Assocation Coordinator

March is always considered a lucky month in Dublin, Ohio–but this year one lucky visitor just might find that proverbial pot ‘o gold.

Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland (located in Historic Dublin, Ohio) is partnering with CIE Tours International to host a chance for a lucky winner and his/her guest to travel to the Emerald Isle and experience the wonders of Ireland.

The process includes two drawings. The first drawing will be held at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland (at 3 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day–March 17). The entry that is drawn will win a prize exclusively from the shop that includes:

• A framed copy of the Irish National Anthem
• An Ireland Street Sign
• A decorative map of old Ireland

This local winner will then be placed into the final drawing during the North American Celtic Trade Association’s annual tradeshow in April. As guests of CIE Tours International, the “Home to Ireland” winner will enjoy an 8-day luxury coach tour, which will take them to Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Killarney stopping along the way to experience the rich history and beauty of Ireland.

“Ireland has so much to offer its visitors whether they are Irish or not!  From the welcoming nature of the Irish people to the breathtaking landscape, the music and the charm,” commented shop owner Anne Gleine. “Ireland is a warm and magical place, and that’s why I jumped at the chance to help co-sponsor this lovely trip.”

No purchase is necessary (some restrictions apply).  Just visit the shop at 75 S. High St. in  Historic Dublin and enter to win.

-Post by Allison

Today, the Dublin (OH) Convention & Visitors Bureau became a little greener. We launched our new Web site (www.IrishisanAttitude.com) … infused with lots of Irish Attitude.  Not only are we excited about the site because of the cool new design, but because there are several cool new features.  These include …

  • A new search function. Seek (your word) and ye shall find.
  • Easier navigation.  Across the top. Down the side. Everywhere you look.
  • Irish inspired itinerary ideas. You’ve heard us talk about our Irish Attitude. Now, we’re offering itinerary ideas so you can come sample some of the tastes, visit the attractions and see the (green) sites.
  • Insider tips. We found the deals, specials, hidden treasures and favorite local spots–(and we’re sharing the info).
  • An expanded section for Event Planners. Looking for some specific tools to help you plan your next event?  We can help there, too.
  • A new dynamic map of Dublin. Find detailed location info on Dublin attractions, hotels, restaurants, golf courses, shopping, city and more.
  • A Plan Your Visit Section offering quick access to all the tools visitors will need to plan a Dublin getaway (maps, itineraries, Visitor Guide, etc.)

 AND (drumroll, please) … perhaps the most exciting feature of the site is the NEW “Dublin Live” page. Created to resemble a bulletin board, the page contains “live” news feeds and recent updates on things that are happening in and around Dublin. These include recent Dublin blog posts and “Tweets,” video and photo uploads, as well as getaway packages and restaurant deals.

We’ll be adding to the site daily … enhancing the restaurant, shopping and attraction sections and more. So, stop back often. You never know what you’ll discover!

-Post by Mary

I’m the only person in the office that drinks coffee. My morning routine of brewing my coffee forces everyone to listen to the angry bubble and drip
of the coffee pot. This is fine for most days, but sometimes I just need some variety. That’s when I turn to Java Jan Gourmet Coffee located just down the street from our nestled office in Historic Dublin Ohio. What I found was not only delicious coffee and espresso, but a friendly atmosphere and great service.

When I first entered Java Jan I was greeted by the head barista herself, Jan Antauer. My eyes darted to the lengthy menu of drink options that rests right above the shop’s cozy fireplace. Jan helped me with my Buckeye Mocha decision and just like her slogan, it was “Love at first sip.”

Would you like a cupcake with that coffee? Java Jan also neighbors Our Cupcakery, a local cupcake shop. The two work together to pair flavors. If you aren’t in the mood for coffee, Jan offers refreshing smoothies as well.

I chatted with Jan to learn a little more about Historic Dublin’s newest business.

Q: How did Jan Antauer become Java Jan?

A: I have always been interested in working closely with the public. Instead of setting up a restaurant, I decided to focus my energies on my favorite beverage: coffee. While visiting plantations in Costa Rica, Brazil and Jamaica my interest deepened. By learning the processes of growing, harvesting, roasting and processing–I was hooked. I became Java Jan.

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Gardening and decorating

Q: What’s your favorite coffee?
A: Java Jan Highlander Grog is one of my favorites but I have many favorites. They are all available and made fresh daily in my shop.

Q: Why did you open your business in Dublin?
A: I live here, it’s perfect.

Q: What’s your favorite Dublin event?
A: Sláinte Thursdays. I welcome the opportunity to share our beautiful downtown Dublin with clientele, as well as visitors from outside of our community. (Note: Sláinte Thursdays are held from 4-7 p.m. on the third Thursdays during the warm weather months.)

-Post by Allison

I’ve never experienced the infamous “Black Friday.” Even though it seems fun, I haven’t had the overwhelming desire to wake up at 4 a.m. and fight for the best deals. I like to do my Christmas shopping at my own pace. I shuffle through stores to find a gift that’s truly unique. I shop online to get ideas. I even make my own gifts.

Big Al and Anne all decked out!

When I heard about the recent Belleek Signing Event at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland here in Dublin, Ohio, I immediately knew I wanted to check it out. I had no idea what Belleek Pottery was, but the event was centered around Belleek Representative–Roy Troughton–who was available to personalize your gifts with a Gaelic saying. So after work I strolled down the brick sidewalk to our neighboring Irish import shop.

When I entered Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland I was greeted by Big Al, the store’s owner, suited up in a traditional Irish outfit (plaid kilt and everything). He offered me champagne, Irish potatoes, and gingerbread cookies. His wife Anne, explained to me the history of Belleek as I sipped my drink and enjoyed the satisfying snap of gingerbread.

Limited Edition Belleek Cachepot

“Belleek [Pottery] began in Belleek, Ireland in 1857,” said Anne. “It’s known throughout the world for its beautiful porcelain china and handcraftsmanship. Ha’penny began signing events over 10 years ago and is the largest Belleek dealer in Central Ohio.”

No two pieces are ever the same because each is crafted individually using techniques that have been passed down for generations.

After looking through the collections available at the store and receiving personal attention from one of their sales staff, I found three perfect gifts; a limited edition cachepot for my grandmother, a vase for my best friend and something special for myself. I couldn’t resist! Big Al and Anne helped me decide my Gaelic sayings and Roy scripted them beautifully on the bottom of each piece.

Signing the cachepot for my grandmother!

I left the store with my bag in hand and breathed in the cool air. I felt refreshed. The shopping experience I had at Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland could never compare to the mayhem I imagine “Black Friday” creates. I’m looking forward to continuing my Christmas shopping so that each gift will have a story behind it.

– post by Allison

Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland is open Monday -Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The shop is located at 75 South High Street in Historic Dublin.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Dublin (OH) Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new SMERF Sales and Marketing Manager.  I am a SMERF.  A what? Leatherlips Dublin OHA Smert? A Merf? A little blue creature that ran around in a forest during the 1980’s a.k.a Smurf?  Well since I spawned from the 80’s, I might be that too … but my title encompasses all that’s green instead of blue.

SMERF is a tourism industry term that stands for Social, Military, Educational, Religious and Fraternal. So if your organization falls under any of those categories, you may be working with me.

I just began my position at the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau about two weeks ago and I’ve been soaking up every bit o’ Irish knowledge. Since I need to be an expert about this city, I’ve been exploring all of its opportunities.

My travels have  included viewing the Dublin Arts Council’s Art in Public Places.  I never knew corn on the cob could look so cool!  Malcom Cochran, an Ohio artist, commemorated Dublin’s history as a farming community by creating a field of 109 human-sized ears of corn. The Field of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees) even has a parking area so you can get out of your car and strike a pose with your favorite cob.

One of my favorite sites is Scioto Park. A 12-foot high sculpture of Chief Leatherlips watches over the park’s sprawling hill that rolls towards the river. There’s an outdoor stage that’s ready for summer concerts and shelter houses that are perfect for get-togethers.

Seeing the Dublin sites has been very informative, but most of my time is spent in Historic Dublin’s BriHi District … in an office.  It has proven to be a wonderful place to work. The CVB office bustles above the Visitor Information Center that we keep freshly stocked with area maps, brochures and tourist information. The welcoming environment and friendly co-workers has made my huge transition much easier.

So has TehKu Tea Company, located right down the street.  I’m a sucker for the restaurant’s tea of the day and organic food selections. It has inspired me to get my own tea press. I’m also inspired to adopt-a-lion from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, after I had a meeting there. We’ll see what happens first.

Since mid-August I’ve been living in Dublin. Now that I’m working for Dublin I’m immersed in learning about the events, hotels, history and beauty. As a former Ohio State Buckeye, I feel like I’m having a love affair between these two areas. What can I say? Irish is an attitude and Dublin, Ohio is stealing my heart.

-Post by Allison