Shawn O’Donnells family-owned Irish Pub gears up for their first Spokane St. Patrick’s Day

by Elizabeth Dengler

This St. Patty’s Day the good folks of Eastern WA have a new Irish watering hole to get their drink on and chow down on traditional Irish favorites. This will be Shawn O’Donnell’s first Spokane St. Patrick’s Day and the folks of Eastern WA come out in droves to celebrate. Shawn O’Donnell’s is ready for the party!

Chase Van Cotthem, general manager of the Spokane location, gave the Huckleberry Press a rundown of what to expect for the holiday. The party will begin Thursday and continue all weekend into Tuesday. They have scheduled Irish dancers, pipes and drums, Irish pub trivia and St. Patrick of Spokane will come by on Tuesday. Chase went on to say no cover will be charged, they want people to come and stay, enjoy the music. Traditional Irish fare will be available to order: corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, reuben sandwiches and fish and chips. They spend 6 hours every day just cooking corned beef, but they are predicting going through thousands of pounds of corned beef for holiday and that will take at minimum 12 hours a day.

Chase gave us the tour and background of the restaurant and shared how they came to open up a location in Eastern Washington. It took 5 years of looking around Spokane to find the right spot to open up their first restaurant east of the Cascades, but when they found the old Milford’s location it was love at first sight. The historical warmth and well-loved feeling attracted them to the historic1925 building which got its start as a grocery store called the New Transfer Market. The woodwork, bar and charm of Milford’s have been retained throughout and a full modern kitchen remodel was completed along with TV upgrades. They have a meeting room available and separate banquet space in addition to the large dining room and bar area.

You will not find a sterilized franchise here, folks. This place has the feel and warmth of home. The style of the restaurant stays true to the history of the area and with a few Irish touches and some updated paint, Shawn O’Donnells truly gets the community connection and shared love of this area. Chase happened upon historical Spokesman-Review newspapers he discovered in the basement from the end of WW1, Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination and many more. He took them to the William Grant Gallery in Kendall Yards for framing.

The actual Shawn O’Donnell got his start in 1982 when at 22 he opened a sandwich shop over in Mountlake Terrace and then in 1987 he bought a restaurant with a cocktail lounge in Everett and got around to changing the name to “Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub” in 1992. With a strong family team in place, Shawn Sr opened 2 additional family-run locations with his son Shawn Jr, daughter Sophie, niece Kristen, and childhood friend and Shawn Jr’s classmate, Chase. When Chase told Shawn Sr. he wanted to move to Eastern WA and would have to leave the family business, Shawn asked why they don’t just open up a Shawn O’Donnell’s in Spokane.

As Chase quickly discovered, this is a fantastic place to live and raise a family. His new commute time gave him 5 extra hours in his week, add on housing affordability and good schools…this area can’t be beat.

We are incredibly excited to have this family-owned and operated restaurant and bar here and even more excited about the connection they bring to the community. The staff is friendly and fun to chat with and the food is amazing. The favorite of the Huckleberry Press is the Irish Whiskey Mac and Cheese.