Fall’s bounty at Gandalf’s Pub

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With two years in business under their belts, Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant owners Sean and Michelle Lackey are staying true to their mission to serve the finest, scratch-made pub food to the masses. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Laura Briedis

Harvested by local farmers, fall’s bounty is finding its way onto the Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant menu.

“From delicious lamb sliders with a tomato feta compote to roasted apple butternut squash soup to Guinness beer-braised stew, our new fall menu showcases local produce and meats,” says Sean Lackey, who, along with his wife, Michelle, owns the quaint restaurant. 

“And our signature Vienna corned beef is always on the menu, in boxty and reuben sandwiches, inside pierogies, topping a hamburger or even garnishing our Bloody Mary cocktails.”

Executive Chef Edward West shops every Saturday at the farmers’ markets to bring back farm-fresh ideas and seasonal flair when cooking up hearty comfort food in this cozy neighborhood eatery, which is named after the owners’ rescued hound dog.


“Last week I found homegrown fingerling potatoes and roasted them with herbs, and the freshly picked mushrooms are delicious right now. I also had a local farmer give me 15 different types of garlic that I am using to flavor various dishes,” says Chef Edward, noting everything on the menu is cooked from scratch.

The fall flavors also lend themselves to cocktails and desserts. The bartenders are mixing up apple cider mojitos and apple mules, while the chef is tempting diners’ sweet tooth with apple crisp and pumpkin cheesecake.


Located in a historic home built in the late 1800s, which was once a general store with hitching posts out front, Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant exudes charm with a European pub atmosphere. On the weekends, it hosts live entertainment, and every day of the week there is a dining special.

“We are always planning special events, like a clambake this weekend, that we post on our Facebook page and website, so check us out,” invites Sean, noting they have Prime Rib and Delmonico Steak specials on Saturday nights, Taco Night on Tuesdays, Wing Night on Wednesdays and Burger Night on Thursdays.


“Our wings are meaty and flavorful, baked with 16 spices,” says Chef Edward, revealing two of his secret ingredients: smoked paprika and chipotle powder. “You can order them with four different dry rubs or seven sauces.”


The restaurant smokes its pork in-house, nurturing it for 12 hours until it is ready to serve. The maple-smoked pulled pork is piled high in the Old Irish Smokey sandwich, complete with apple wood smoked bacon, Dubliner cheese and honey garlic aioli. And in the Wild Hog sandwich it is paired with stout BBQ sauce.

Just like everything else at the restaurant, the brunch affords a unique dining experience, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday. Not just your typical brunch items, the chef prepares Irish eggs benedict with corned beef hash, Spanish omelets with chorizo and tomatoes, bagel lox with smoked salmon, berry foster French toast and Fruity Pebble pancakes, among other breakfast favorites.

“With the nice fall weather, join us for brunch and sit outside on the patio, which is still covered by a canopy of leaves just starting to change colors,” invites Sean, who walks through the restaurant greeting familiar faces and stopping to talk to diners who recognize him from acting in the Flanagan’s Wake production at Playhouse Square.

With separate dining areas, an all-season room and expansive patio, the house-turned-restaurant is the perfect party venue—hosting birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, bridal showers, engagement parties and anything else you want to celebrate. In addition to special events at the restaurant, Gandalf’s can cater events off site.

“With the upcoming holidays, let us host your special event,” says Sean. 

Gandalf’s Pub & Restaurant is located at 6757 Center Road in Valley City. Dining hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. For reservations, call 330-483-1190 or visit GandalfsPub.com to order to-go meals.