Going full circle

Jan. 28—Tal Callihan brings restaurant to Ironton

It's a homecoming, of sorts, for Tal Callihan.

Years after he started working at C.R. Thomas's Old Place, he has brought his own restaurant, Callihan's Pub and Grill at the Oasis, to Ironton.

"It's a full circle for me because I started with Chuck and Bob at C.R. Thomas's," Callihan said. "Those guys, they had a lot of great ideas and I still use them today."

Callihan was on the creative side of the business and was also a manager.

Callihan's Pub and Grill at the Oasis is not his first restaurant. In 2008, opened up RJ Kahuna's and then in 2010, he opened Callihan's at the KYOVA Mall in Summit, Kentucky. He left after new owners bought the complex and turned it into Camp Landing.

He came back to Ironton after Jeff Fields let him know the place formerly known as Frogtown was available for lease.

"He needed a tenant and I needed a place," Callihan said. "It worked out well."

Last October, Callihan's Pub and Grill at the Oasis opened up and was just doing curbside service. In November, the restaurant opened up inside.

He said he has enjoyed the reception the restaurant has had with the people of Lawrence County.

"The people have been awesome," Callihan said. "I wanted a place that had the feel of neighborhood pub."

The menu isn't extravagant because of the kitchen size.

"What we have had to do here, because of the lack of kitchen size, is to experiment and put limitations on ourselves. We want to be able to execute meals in a timely manner to avoid long ticket time and maintains and ensure customer satisfaction."

So that means he can't make some of the things he used to but he still creates popular items like burgers.

"It is a hard thing for me to recognize, but I do have to recognize it so our customers are happy," Callihan said.

The most popular seller is the Feast Box, which feeds three-to four people.

"Those do really well, especially in the evening time," he said. "They are also popular for office lunches."

Also popular are the stuffed mushrooms, potato skins and chicken tenders with a honey mustard sauce he makes every day.

"We sell a lot of burgers," he said. "They are fresh, we make the meat into patties every day."

They also cut their own vegetables every day, rather than buy them pre-cut and most of the sauces and dressings are made from scratch.

"It has just always been part of my routine to make things fresh, it ensures quality," Callihan said. "It is just a personal preference and I think it shows in the quality."

The restaurant is still converting some of the spaces in the building.

The old sun room has been enclosed and the plan is to use it for large group meals with a buffet.

And they plan to have live entertainment, generally acoustic musicians performing.

Callihan said the restaurant will not be open into the late hours of the night.

"On the weekends, it will be 9 or 9:30 p.m. for us," he said. "This a restaurant that serves some drinks and has some live entertainment. I want to do acoustic music like on a Saturday afternoon. That way, people that don't normally get out in the evenings, for whatever reason, can come and listen to a little bit of live music."

Callihan's Pub and Grill at the Oasis is located at 2515 S. Third St., Ironton.