Kildare's West Chester Under New Ownership
An Irish owner takes the lead on the restaurant.
Dane Gray and Tom Farnesi//photos by kate mazzi
As of Monday, July 13, Kildare’s West Chester has new owners. The pub on West Gay Street—the flagship restaurant of the Kildare’s brand formerly owned by Dave Magrogan Group—now belongs to longstanding operator Dane Gray and his business partner, Tom Farnesi.
Gray met Magrogan in 2003 while working as the manager and head concierge of the Morrison Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. Impressed by his hospitality, Magrogan invited Gray to join his team in the United States. Gray helped open Kildare’s Manayunk and then transferred to the West Chester location, where he was promoted to general manager in 2006.
Dane and Stephanie Gray
Gray and Farnesi had been looking for properties within West Chester for several years and their search kept leading them back to Kildare’s West Chester. “It’s a beautiful establishment in a beautiful town,” said Gray. “Having spent so many years in Ireland, I truly appreciate the time that was put into the aesthetics of the space. Every day as soon as I walk into Kildare’s, I’m transported back to Ireland. I really feel at home within these walls.”
When it comes to running a pub, Gray’s philosophy is that a good Irish pub should be the cornerstone of the town. “The publican, also known as the owner, should be known to all on a handshake basis,” said Gray. “Being involved in the community outside of the pub is a big part of being a pub owner, too.”
He continued, “A prominent business in the heart of town has to be more than just a business. We should and will be involved with the community on a much higher level. I cannot stress how important this is to me. And I’m pretty excited for what’s to come.”
When it comes to the menu, things will certainly be heating up in the kitchen, where Gray’s wife of eight years, Stephanie, will return to the helm of the culinary program. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Stephanie was the first person hired by Kildare’s West Chester as chef, but had moved around to various other Dave Magrogan Group restaurants through the years and had taken a hiatus for family time.
“I’m really excited to let my creativity run free again,” said Stephanie. “We’re going to elevate the sophistication of the menu to a level that West Chester diners will truly appreciate.” The team is simultaneously working to enhance craft drink offerings. One thing that will remain constant: the 26-tap selection of ever-evolving drafts—and perfectly poured Guinness pints.
On Thursday, July 30, from 5–7 p.m., Gray and Farnesi invite all friends of the pub to help celebrate their new ownership with complimentary appetizers and a craft beer created by Gray (while supplies last) at the bar.
18 W. Gay St., West Chester, (610) 431-0770, www.kildarespub.com