OCEAN CITY – Even with an economic downfall, local entrepreneur Terrence Kirby’s business is still achieving growth, as Kirby’s Red Onion Grill opened its doors to Ocean City on 138th Street on June 17.
This marks Kirby’s second business venture on Coastal Highway. Although only open for two months now, the Red Onion is becoming a local favorite. With 11 flat screen TVs and a bar that practically encompasses the length of the establishment, it’s quickly becoming a great place to join friends and family for great food, cold beer and entertainment.
The owner of Kirby’s Pub on 94th Street and now Kirby’s Red Onion Grill says, “It all came together and the town has been nothing but supportive. It’s been a blessing that’s for sure.”
Kirby feels that the kitchen is the most important part of his businesses.
“You can get a cold beer and pretty faces anywhere. I eat at one of the restaurants almost daily. Whatever sandwich I eat, you’re eating. I don’t believe that putting something of lesser quality out there just to get a bigger dollar is right,” Kirby said.
One of the barriers the Red Onion is overcoming is stepping out of the shadow of the Island Café, which the Red Onion replaced.
“You must accept change. All I can say is I hope people will give us a chance,” Kirby said.
Kirby has a lot of plans and high hopes for the Red Onion. Ideally, he would like to make it like a little tap house. “I think it will be a really nice bar uptown. It has a great sports atmosphere and delicious food,” he added.
Many wonder how the Red Onion came about and what happened to the Island Café. It was a great endeavor Kirby stumbled upon. “It was kind of a fluke,” he exclaimed.
Kirby was out of the country for about three weeks earlier this year and got back to a phone full of messages, including some about a possible business opportunity. The four owners of the Island Café had been together for 13 years and eventually went their separate ways.
“People grow apart and move and I was lucky enough that they considered me to buy it and I was happy that they did,” Kirby added.
Red Onion General Manager Paulie Smith has played a huge role in getting “the Red Onion on its feet,” according to Kirby.
“Change is hard for a lot of people. I want them to come in and see what we have to offer and give us a chance,” Smith said. “We have a great location and want this to be a fun neighborhood bar. People loved the Island Café and of course they’re going to miss it. Things are different but we want to bring people in and win them over. … I know the name Kirby has a good reputation and know the name will stand up here. We have our own flare on things but you can always expect the same welcome.”
According to Smith, Kirby’s Red Onion seems to be a popular late-night stop. Delaware bars close at 1 and they are seeing the 12:30-2 a.m. crowd.
“If you’re in Delaware and the bar is closing, you can come on into Maryland and visit the Red Onion on 138th Street,” said Smith, who added the kitchen is open till 1:30 a.m.
The Red Onion will stay open year-round just like Kirby’s on 94th Street, from 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. everyday with happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-7 p.m.