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Cafe: Where Irish eyes are smiling
23, DaYe Road (on Soho Street)
Hours: 6 pm-12 midnight (open for lunch from March on)
Credit cards not accepted.
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--By Douglas Habecker Translated by Ann Li
In the month of St. Patrick's Day, it seems
appropriate to take a look at Taichung's sole Irish-American
pub, PJ's Cafe, and its Irish-American owner, Patrick John
McKenna--better known as PJ. This durable establishment, which
marked its eighth anniversary on Dec. 1, continues to go strong
with a reputation as a place where everyone does seem to know
your name, the food and drinks are good, and the friendly,
laid-back owner is always ready with a smile, handshake and
some good conversation.
Like many foreigners in Taiwan, PJ was just
traveling through and didn't think he'd end up staying here
when he arrived on the island 13 years ago. A native of Camden
County, New Jersey (opposite Philadelphia), he also spent
11 years in California before heading to Asia. Now, with PJ's
Cafe currently in its third "and final" location,
he seems happy with the place he's in, although he does periodically
vent his wanderlust with two-month get-aways to places like
Thailand and Nepal.
Located at the entrance to the pedestrian-only Soho Street
along DaYe Road, PJ's is a small, unassuming place where a
gathering of regulars can be found any evening, sitting around
the L-shaped bar or at outside tables. PJ also gets a wide
range of first-timers, from businessmen to local college girls.
Often, there's a game on TV (PJ is a BIG Philadelphia Eagles
football fan) and the music is always classic rock 'n' roll.
"This place makes you feel at home and
comfortable. It's not a pub-like atmosphere but more like
a family gathering, just like Cheers," says the owner,
referrring to the bar in the popular '80s American TV show.
When it comes to food, the favorite item for years has been
his trademark Philly Cheese Steak (NT$250), exclusive to PJ's
Cafe in Tachung. It's also a good place to get some decent
Mexican dishes, including quesadillas, nachos, the Taco Salad
and the popular burritos. Another good option is the NT$100,
10-inch "hoagie" submarine sandwich. Starting in
March, PJ will also offer daily lunches. The drink of choice
is beer (NT$100-NT$200), including Stella Artois, Foster's,
Corona, Qingdao, Guinness and Murphy's. There are also two
"heavy" shots for NT$150.
Good times to stop by PJ's this month are
the March 4 Welcome Back BBQ and March 17, when there will
be a St. Paddy's Day party with real, live Irish music.