Kobe Sliders and Thin, Seasoned Fries from Emerald's on Route 22

New owners have redecorated the space and assembled a menu that blends the best of two successful restaurants

There's a new burger in town, and it comes with Guinness barbecue sauce and the best French fries in Springfield. Several weeks ago, we reported on the opening of Emerald's Pub, adjacent to . Formerly an underwhelming Mexican joint, new owners Dominick Glynn and Elizabeth Garofalo pulled the sombreros off the walls and replaced them with Celtic crosses and golden shamrocks.

Their menu blends favorites from their respective businesses, in Mountainside and Mario's Tutto Bene in Union. The result: Shepherd's Pie ($13.95), Guinness stew ($17.95) and chicken parmigiana sandwich ($8.95).

We've been in this space twice before: once in its previous incarnation to , and more recently to chat with the new owners just before their . Both times, the restaurant was void of customers, so it was comforting to stop in for lunch last week and find six people seated at the bar and a table of four enjoying their lunch.

The owners have done more with this space than add Irish knickknacks. Much of the space has been refurbished. The bar is illuminated, a fireplace lounge has been added, as has an outdoor patio with tables and umbrellas. The patio was far from appealing on a day when the mercury pushed 100 degrees, but on a more pleasant day, it looks like an enjoyable place to eat lunch or spend happy hour. Instead, we took refuge inside, where the air conditioner worked overtime to provide a cool place to eat.

We arrived intent on trying the Dublin Burger, served with cheese and Guinness barbecue sauce. But a few other menu items caught our eyes, namely, the trio of kobe sliders ($10.95). Three small burgers appealed to me than one, and they had our server's nod of approval, so the kobe sliders beat out the Dublin Burger--which we will be back to try.

Each slider was served on a brioche-like bun, shiny on top, likely brushed with butter. With a slice of Swiss, the California slider was the least impressive. Next up was the blue cheese burger, with a generous amount of the sharp, tangy cheese that I like so much. And third was the bacon slider, with a fat slice of bacon folded in thirds under the bun.

Each burger was about a half-inch thick and grilled well done, but still juicy. On the side was a large serving of French fries, the best in town, no doubt. Well-seasoned and cut very thin, these are ideal, unless you're looking at nutritional value.

With good food, friendly service, a revamped decor and a powerful air conditioning, we hope this place succeeds. The only drawback is the location—as this pub is overshadowed by Hotel 304 and easily missed while driving West on Route 22. And if you're driving East, you have to make a U turn.

Not fun. But well worth it.


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