The Bethlehem couple have 2 restaurants, 4 children and 2 puppies. Things are racing.

BETHLEHEM – Walk into O’Slattery’s and you might as well have been transported 3,000 miles to a pub in Kilkenny.

The music, the decor and even the smell are all reminiscent of a cozy pub in the small town of South East Ireland. This is what owners Liam and Jackie Slattery wanted when they opened the restaurant and pub in Delmar six years ago – to recreate an authentic home away from Liam’s home in Kilkenny, and to be a center of community and of kinship.

“We always said after we started dating that one day we were going to open a restaurant and we were going to run it with a lot of love,” Jackie said.

Today, the restaurant couple own two top restaurants in the community: the O’Slattery Irish Restaurant and Pub, which serves beers, cocktails and plenty of Irish comfort food, and Bliss, a healthy smoothie restaurant, toast and more. The joke, the couple said, is that Liam gives customers hangovers and Jackie delivers the cure the next day.

When the two first met while working at a New York City restaurant – Liam was a bartender, Jackie was a hostess – it quickly became clear to Jackie that Liam’s career would be in the restaurant business. To this day, she said, there is never a day when he complains about work or doesn’t want to go to work.

“I have always liked the excitement and the meetings. I’ve always loved that feeling of talking to people. I could never survive working in a factory, ”Liam said. “We both worked together in a restaurant and we really, really liked it. It was obvious.

But with several obstacles to opening restaurants and two kids later, the couple decided it might be a better idea to move to Jackie’s hometown of Delmar to be near the family. All the pieces fell apart and their dream came true.

The couple created O’Slattery’s with the intention of retaining the spirit and style of Irish pubs. The restaurant is cozy with wood, library walls and beams from a Pennsylvania barn built in 1806. It serves Guinness beef stew, bangers and mash, and Liam’s personal favorite Kilkenny Bookmaker – a ciabatta sandwich of sautéed mushrooms, sirloin and cheddar cheese. Of course, it wouldn’t be an Irish pub without Guinness, which Liam is proud to serve, but he also enjoys exploring the wide variety of craft beers produced in New York City, as well as cocktails like a smoky Manhattan.

The preservation of culture and heritage also extends outside the walls of the restaurant: O’Slattery’s currently helping to raise funds for the Albany Rebels, a Gaelic football and men’s hurling club.

“It’s not just beer and shots, we’re not about it at all,” Liam said. “We are more like a family. Most of our staff have been there from day one. We treat them all like family.

Then came Bliss, an idea Jackie thought of in 2017 to fill a need she saw in a city that largely has a healthy lifestyle. Their doors opened in the summer of 2019, just months before COVID-19 hit – but the couple say business has continued well, and perhaps better than it otherwise would have been, during the pandemic.

“Everyone was like, ‘Make sure you buy local,’” Jackie said. “I almost feel like it’s promoted our name more than ever before. And I think we’re lucky to be in a small town.

The restaurant industry isn’t a relaxing business, pandemic or not, but the Slatterys are an upbeat pair, which they attribute to their mindset of rolling with the knocks, pivoting and adapting so necessary, and to have faith in God’s plan. And with twice as many children as when they decided to move back upstate, they need that mindset even more.

Liam points to Jackie when asked how the family runs two restaurants, four children aged 4 to 9, a puppy and a second on the way.

“Jackie is leading our family,” he said. “I always joke that Jackie is Monica from ‘Friends’. She’s super organized – we have a bigger wall chart than this window in our home office with “Monday, Tuesday” which helps with everything. “

Thanks to Jackie’s organizational skills, the help of her “superstar mother” and the absence from work on Sundays, the family is doing very well.

“We like to be busy, I think that’s also why it works for us,” Jackie said. “But we always keep the family first. “

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