By Sarah Donofrio
For the first time in fourteen years, alcohol will be served by a dining establishment on the campus of the Catholic University of America. Opening fall 2017, Murphy’s Grill will offer a full-service bar and restaurant with an American pub ambiance. Murphy’s Week, which took place from April 24 to 28, showcased various aspects of Murphy’s Grill and gave students a glimpse of what to expect in the fall.
Until its closing in 2003, the Rathskeller served as a popular social destination for students on campus. Privately owned pubs frequented by Catholic University students, such as Kitty O’Shea’s and Colonel Brooks’ Tavern, have also closed in the past two decades. The Rathskeller, located in what is now the Craves Family Alumni Center, wasa pub, restaurant, and lounge.
“The Rat was the place to go to see other students,” said Catholic University alumna Ann Adkinson, B.S.W. 1991, J.D. 1994. “The best part was that the Rathskeller was conveniently located on campus. I’m hoping that Murphy’s will provide today’s students with something similar.”
Murphy’s is named after the late Mike Murphy, B.A. 1974, M.A. 1975. Murphy frequently visited the Rathskeller, playing pool and socializing in what is nowFather O’Connell Hall.
While Murphy’s Grill was inspired by the Rathskeller’s tradition and developed by classmates of Mike Murphy, the Grill will offer contemporary amenities.
“The plan as of now is to offer everything, but alcohol, for Dining Dollars and have a select amount of items available for block meal swipes, which will be shown on the menu,” said Christian Sapienza, Marketing Director of Dining Services.
While the Rathskeller served food on trays and students paid at a register, Murphy’s Grill will offer a waitstaff and bartenders. The Grill plans on rotating its menus seasonally, and adapting its offerings to fit the preferences of the student body. Additionally, the chef at Murphy’s Grill will prepare “chef’s specials” and cater to special orders.
Located below the existing lounge in the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, Murphy’s Grill will seat about 100 people. The restaurant and bar will be open for both lunch and dinner; the Grill will not be accessible outside the operating hours of the restaurant.
Murphy’s Grill will serve alcohol on campus; however, the Grill will make efforts to adhere to the University’s policies on alcohol.
“Like any restaurant, the bartenders, waiters and waitresses, and any management have the right to cut any person off,” said Sapienza. “We want to create an atmosphere where students, faculty, staff, alumni, or anyone can come and hang out and enjoy the food, the atmosphere, and [be] right on campus.”
Murphy’s Week was intended to both inform and excite students about the opening of the Grill. Developers of Murphy’s Grill hope to continue the tradition of the Rathskeller by offering students a place to congregate. Events during Murphy’s week offered information on the menus and offerings of the Grill.
“Each event is designed to highlight a little part of Murphy’s Grill, whether it be the salads, appetizers, burgers, or just the overall feel of the restaurant,” said Sapienza.
Students are hoping that the addition of Murphy’s Grill will improve their dining experience at Catholic University.
“This week is making me excited for what Murphy’s will offer next year,” said freshman biology major Meredith Jones. “I have a feeling that Murphy’s will improve the dining offerings here at CUA.”
Other students have utilized Murphy’s lounge and look forward to visiting Murphy’s Grill in the fall.
“I’m excited for there to actually be food served in Murphy’s,” said freshman social work student Rosy Del Valle.
After years of development and the initial proposal of Murphy’s Grill in 2008, the restaurant and pub will open to students in fall 2017.