Restaurant strives to bring British cuisine to Aggieville

Photo by Emily DeShazer Frank Sauerwein and Beverly Sauerwein, Wichita residents, laugh with friends at the grand opening of the Keltic Star Public House in Aggieville on Saturday. The Keltic Star offers an American take on Welsh, Scottish and Irish cuisine as well as 24 different Irish whiskeys.

Irish-themed pubs have been a part of the Manhattan community for years, but Irish cuisine was hard to come by until now. The Keltic Star Public House, located in Aggieville, held its grand opening on Saturday, offering Welsh, Scottish and Irish cuisine with an American twist to help appeal to local tastes.

General manager Darren McCall said the reception went very well.

“We had a lot of people comment on the decor,” McCall said. “Twitter’s been going crazy about our food and service.”

McCall said the restaurant was designed to closely replicate the pubs seen in Great Britain.

“A lot of pubs in Britain are renovated houses, so they have a very homey feel,” McCall said.

“Homey” is exactly the word used by Jed Russell, junior in business management, to describe the Keltic Star.

“It’s different from other places in Aggieville and seems very authentic,” Russell said.

Russell visited the Keltic Star when the restaurant opened on Friday night, returned once to sample the food and returned again on Sunday with friends. Russell said he enjoyed the fish and chips and would like to come back to try the lamb stew.

Jeremy Goering, junior in microbiology, said he has been to pubs in London and thought the Keltic Star was as close to the real thing as you could get in Kansas.

The authenticity may have to do with the staff. Co-owner Shirley McCall is originally from Wales and several others, including bartender Ricky Wiseman, come from England.

Wiseman, a junior in business economics and accounting, has been to 24 different states over the last three years and said the fish and chips at the Keltic Star are the best he’s had outside of England. He also said the sausages are “spot on.”

Wiseman believes both Manhattan residents and K-State students will be able to appreciate the Keltic Star.

“It’s definitely going to work well because there’s nothing like it around here,” Wiseman said. “It’s a nice, homey place.”

McCall said his favorite item on the menu is the shepherd’s pie. It proved to be so popular opening weekend that they sold out on Sunday.

“I could rant and rave about everything on the menu,” McCall said.

For Americans who are wholly unfamiliar with the food in Britain, Wiseman recommended two different appetizers to get acquainted with the cuisine: the sausage rolls and the scotch eggs. For those looking for something to fill them up, Wiseman recommended the Braveheart — an 8-ounce burger loaded with toppings.

“It’s huge,” Wiseman said. “I couldn’t even get my mouth around it.”

Thad Carson, Manhattan resident, tried the bangers and mash on Saturday and had a Reuben sandwich on Sunday.

“This is probably one of the best Reubens I’ve ever had,” Carson said. “I’ll definitely come here and go through their whole menu before I settle on what I like best.”

In addition to food, the Keltic Star also offers beverages not usually found in the Aggieville area, such as Strongbow hard cider, Red Hook ESB on tap and 24 different Irish whiskeys. One of the house specialties is “lager and black,” a lager beer with black currant syrup added. Drinks are offered in 20-ounce imperial pints instead of the 14 ounces most Americans are familiar with, while 10-ounce half-pints are available for those who don’t want a full beer.

McCall said they have plans to add more items to the menu, including haggis. They are working on an Americanized version that will not include sheep’s stomach to make it more appetizing to American tastes.