La Verne Has an Emerald Avenue; Now It Has An Emerald Restaurant to Match

March 12, 2011
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Laura and Wendy offer charming shamock service Tuesday through Sunday.

Laura and Wendy offer charming shamock service Tuesday through Sunday.

Heaven knows you’re going to hear a bit of the blarney this week, with St. Patrick’s Day and all, Thursday, March 17.

But it’s true, — as real as the little leprechaun of luck that follows me around La Verne — a new Irish-inspired restaurant, called Connolly’s Kitchen,  has opened in the old Vons shopping center in La Verne.

It’s a wondrous thing. Proprietors Paul (He’s a real Dubliner) and Wendy serve up fresh fish and chips, Irish stew, bangers (Irish sausauges) soda bread and something called a Guinness sundae, all accompanied by Irish music.

What you won’t find on the menu is corned beef.

“Let’s go on the record right now,” said Wendy. “Corned beef is not Irish. It came to the Irish American menu because rashers or Irish bacon wasn’t available at the time. As many of the Irish neighborhoods in the major cities backed up against major Jewish neighborhoods, they adopted corned beef as being as close as they could get to an Irish rasher.

“So, you won’t find corned beef and cabbage on any genuine Irish menu.”

It’s truly Irish-American fare, with Paul 100 percent Irish and Wendy 100 percent American. Wendy met Paul two years ago on a trip to Dublin. She was staying in a room above the Ferryman pub, located on the river Liffey, and when she came downstairs, she met her man.

Upon her return to the states, she found an email from Paul, and they began a torrid Internet romance for the next several months. He came to Southern California in October 2009, she visited in Ireland over Thanksgiving, and they married in January 2010.

And their child of love is Connolly’s.

“Paul was homesick for the chips and sausages and proper fish that he grew up with,” Wendy said, speaking for Paul who was hunkered down in a kitchen “so clean his nanny could live in it.”

They had inherited a little seed money, and as the construction business wasn’t setting the world on the fire, Paul’s regular vocation, so they decided to bring a little taste of Ireland to La Verne. To find comparable Irish food, you’d have to drive to Long Beach or Van Nuys.

A commercial broker told them about a former fish and chips place in La Verne, and they were intrigued after driving the community. After being handed the keys, they closed the shop, repainting and redecorating. One of the first pictures that went up was the photo of the Ferryman, which Wendy had taken the morning of the day she met Paul.

The kitchen is filled with lots of Wendy’s photography. “You can go to Ireland and point your camera in any direction and get a great picture,” Wendy said modestly. “You really can’t fail. If you have the lens cover off, you’re going to take a great picture.”

There several Irish talismans on the walls as well, including Irish dance shoes and a tin whistle.

“If you want the real deal, this is where you come,” said Wendy whose dear friend Laura also helps serve.

The condiments are authentically Irish, too, including Sarson’s malt vinegar and Coleman’s mustard. “The right malt vinegar makes all the difference to the fish and chips,” Wendy said.

If you’re in a carnivorous mood, a sausage or rasher sandwich would make an ideal choice, and, of course, there’s the Irish stew. “We make it with extremely lean beef, potatoes, carrots and some lovely garden herbs.”

If you have room for dessert, try a Bailey’s chocolate chip cookie or the Guinness Sundae, made from Ireland’s national beverage (it’s non-alcoholic) which will cost you only a buck if you download your coupon from La Verne Online.

Life appears to be coming up all shamrocks for Wendy and Paul. Wish them luck, order a banger or two, but just no corned beef!

For Irish food, this is the 'real deal,' Wendy said.

For Irish food, this is the 'real deal,' Wendy said.

Located at 1453 Foothill Blvd, La Verne. For more info, visit or call (909) 593-6322. Go to COUPON button for your discounted Guinness sundae. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday.

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