The new owners of McGuire's have plans for a new name and a new Italian menu, but no Irish pub - they already have one of those across town.
Marc Van Severen and Dan Kelly, the owners of Kelly's Irish Pub & Eatery, along with Dave Kelly have purchased the former McGuire's from Mike and Pat Shouse. The longtime Davenport tavern will reopen Oct. 4 as Van's Pizza Pub and Grill.
"We want to bring a taste of Chicago - from the really good Italian beef to the Chicago-style pizza," said Van Severen, a self-proclaimed Chicago sports fan.
"There are a lot of restaurants here where you can get one of these items. We want to be one spot where you can get it all."
He said the Shouses offered them the opportunity to keep the McGuire's name, which they seriously considered.
"But our biggest push is to get away from the name McGuire's," he said, adding that it didn't make good business sense to operate two Irish pubs in the same city. "These (Van's and Kelly's) will complement each other."
While the restaurant will reopen with a fresh interior, patrons still will find some of the same specials, menu items and the popular beer garden at the 3333 N. Harrison St. establishment. But the one thing that will feel very familiar is the experience the owners plan to offer.
"Mike and Pat had a sign on the wall that said 'McGuire's … the people who care about your good times.' That's a staple in how you should run your business," Van Severen said.
He and the Kelly brothers - all Davenport natives and Assumption High School graduates - recognize opening a new business in this economy brings added concerns. "If we treat people right now, when we come out of this bad economy they're going to remember us and come back," he said. "If you're going to spend your hard-earned dollars with us, we're going to give you what you deserve."
According to Dan Kelly, opening another place had been part of the partners' business plan. In fact, they began "looking for what that next thing was" in January after bringing Kelly's brother, Dave, aboard.
When McGuire's became available, Kelly said they knew it was the right place. Not only had it been a successful Irish pub - which must bring some luck - but the new address even seemed lucky. "The address over there is 3333 Harrison. It's 2222 (53rd St.) at Kelly's," he said.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. But with anything worthwhile, there is going to be a lot of work involved," he added.
Van Severen said they learned many lessons from Kelly's, which they opened in 2004. "We now know the do's and don'ts. We opened that without a lot of training. This time, we're going to get trained for a couple of weeks."
Dave Kelly also has a food service background, working the past several years in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where he owned The Hub and previously had been general manager of The Other Place, or OP, for about 12 years. He will be the general manager of Van's while Dan Kelly will continue as the general manager of Kelly's.
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One of the things McGuire's was known for - the smallest bathrooms in the Quad-Cities - have disappeared. Before selling the business, the Shouses installed two new restrooms.
The Shouses originally opened Pat McGuire's Irish American Grill in 1986. In 2004, they had sold it on contract to Pat Shouse's cousin, Pat Doyle, and his business partner, Pat Kilfoy. But they got it back earlier this year when the new owners stopped paying.
Mike Shouse said he is pleased to have found a new generation to keep the business going. "We're happy Dan, Dave and Marc were interested," he said. "It was just too great of a business to let it sit there. Had a buyer not come along, coming out of retirement was an option.
"These guys seem to have the energy and enthusiasm to put this back on the right track. My wife and I are anxious and excited for them. It's a tough, hard business."
While they were willing to lend the McGuire name - named for Pat's grandfather - he said they are pleased to see the new owners get their own identity. "They have a concept and a theme of their own. I applaud that. We're sorry to see McGuire's go, but we were happy to spend all those years doing McGuire's," Shouse said.
Of the new cuisine, he said "Italian instead of Irish? That's OK. I like Italian."