By Jessica Tuggle
SEBASTIAN - Friendly, laid back, good company. These are just three descriptions of J.J. Manning's Irish Pub in Sebastian.
Its location, tucked away in a shopping plaza on South Fleming Street, doesn't lend itself to attracting many tourists visiting the riverfront, but more locals are finding out about the pub that wants to be known as the friendliest neighborhood pub.
J.J. Manning's is a social center for Sebastian residents and a place for newcomers to be welcomed and made to feel right at home, from the bartenders and wait staff, to the locals enjoying good food, drinks and the company around them.
The talk about the signature appetizer on the menu, Irish nachos, isn't a bunch of blarney.
The appetizer is made of well-seasoned waffle fries, topped with melted cheddar cheese, corned beef and chives and served with a side of ranch dressing.
The smooth flavor of the cheese is enhanced by the delightful crunch of the fries and the portion size makes it excellent for sharing among three or four friends.
Burgers, jumbo hot dogs, sandwiches, especially Ruebens, are all popular items on the menu.
The current top-two selling burgers are the big bleu and the cowboy. The cowboy is a juicy one-third pound burger topped with bacon, barbeque sauce, American cheese and grilled onions.
The sauce has a slight hint of sweetness to it that is complimented by the onions and bacon, providing a burst of well-rounded flavor in each bite.
The big bleu is topped with crumbled bleu cheese and crispy bacon.
A third burger that is quite popular with customers and will soon be making its return to the menu is the pine-a-peno, said restaurant owner John Walker.
The burger combines the flavors of pineapples and jalapeņos for a feisty flavor that satisfies, Mr. Walker said.
Fish and chips are always available, made with New England, beer-battered cod.
No pub would be a true pub if it didn't serve alcoholic beverages, and J.J. Manning's selection has both beer and wine to choose from.
Each month, the restaurant features new red and white wine selections, and on Wednesdays, anyone who orders a glass of one of the featured wines receives a complimentary cheese and cracker plate.
The selection of beers on tap includes quite a few imported beers.
Irish staples, such as Guinness, Smithwicks and Harp are always available. Other brands include Stella Artois, Bass, Killians, Samuel Adams Seasonal, Blue Moon and Bud Light. A large variety of bottled beers are also available.
The pub is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Daily food and drink specials are available, and food is available for customers wishing to dine-in or take out.
J.J. Manning's Irish Pub is located in the Chesser's Gap Plaza, across from the Elk's Lodge, at 740 S. Fleming St., Sebastian. For more information, call (772) 589-1238 or visit www.jjmanningsirishpub.wordpress.com.