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Meet Lisa O’Neill of Harrington’s Pub in North Shore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa O’Neill.

Lisa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been working in the restaurant business since I was 16 years old; waitressing, then hostessing and bar tending. I immediately knew that I had a passion for the business. Eventually, I met my husband, Dan, who is from County Laois, Ireland, at our other location, Cape Cod’s Irish Pub in West Harwich. From there, with our business partner, Brendan, we bought an Irish Pub in Dedham. It was a very successful business, but as Dan and I started a family, I quickly realized I needed to move closer to my parents so they could help with our three children. We sold the pub in Dedham and found a cute little Italian restaurant for sale in Wakefield. We bought it, made major renovations, and opened it in October of 2004, as Harrington’s, named after my grandmother, Mary Harrington Maney, from Bere Island, County Cork, Ireland.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We’ve been very lucky. Wakefield is a wonderful community in which to own a business. The town is beautiful, the town’s officials are supportive, and the residents of Wakefield and the surrounding communities are top notch. We have many regulars whom I now consider friends. Additionally, the Wakefield business community is an active group; we look out for each other. I’ve developed positive relationships with several other restaurant owners. We believe that working together will benefit all of us. We want Wakefield to be a destination for good food, and I believe it is! Have there been struggles? Of course! My struggles have been, and still are, related to my ability to keep balance in my life, but I think everyone feels that struggle once in a while.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Harrington’s Pub – what should we know?
Harrington’s is an Irish Pub with a private function room on the second floor. Downstairs in our pub, we have a full bar with a wide variety of draft beers available including Guinness, of course. We have an extensive menu, which includes tasty appetizers such as Nachos, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Fried Pickles. Sandwiches, Salads, and Burgers are always available. Our entree menu includes tender Steaks, Salmon, Haddock, Fish Tacos, and more. Our most popular item is our Shepherd’s Pie, which is part of our Irish Fare that also includes Fish and Chips, Beef in Guinness Stew, and Corned Beef and Cabbage. On Wednesday nights, we have a traditional Irish session, which is well attended. Additionally, we have live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. My husband, Dan, and our business partner, Brendan, along with our good friend, Mike O’Toole, are in a band called Casterbridge Union. Casterbridge Union has a strong fan base; people travel far and wide to see Brendan on the fiddle! Upstairs at Harrington’s we have a private function room that accommodates 20 to 65 guests. We are busy with bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, business luncheons, and more. We have something for everyone at Harrington’s!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My husband, Dan, and I, own Harrington’s with our business partners, Brendan O’Reilly, also from County Laois, and my sister, Maryellen Haberland. Being in partnerships can be tricky, especially when you’re married to one of them! What makes our partnership successful is trust. We trust each other, 100%. No one is perfect, but each of us knows that the other is working as hard as they can. What more can we ask of each other?

How do we run Harrington’s? It’s pretty simple. We run it through the eyes of our customers. When I develop new menu items, I reach out for suggestions and ideas. When we hire people, we hire people whom we genuinely like. If we like them, we know our customers will like them, too. Most of our employees have been with us since we opened in 2004; I am very proud of that. We keep the atmosphere at Harrington’s very inviting and relaxing; we want our guests to feel at ease when they are here. We are aware of lighting, background music, room temperature, seating arrangements, etc. We want every guest to feel like they are the most important person in the room when they are at Harrington’s … because they are.


  • Menu items range from $7 to $21
  • Function prices range from $7.50 per person for light appetizers to $20 per person for the dinner buffet.

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  1. cynthia buonfiglio

    July 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Hey Lisa Congratulatiobns on this wonderful article. You should be very proud. I am looking forward to coming there this summer.



  2. Abraham Grungold

    July 12, 2017 at 11:37 am

    WOW how the years have flown by. Wonderful, very happy for you, Mom must be very proud and honored. Next time I visit, I will try and come in. Best Wishes.

  3. Tim Bianco

    July 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Lisa that awesome but you forgot to mention your favorite wine distributor Tim Bianco from Martignetti 😀

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