By Denise Reiter | Photos by Asrar Burney
As the long-running TV show “Cheers” taught us, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your name. And although you won’t find Sam Malone or Diane Chambers, chances are you will find equally fascinating characters and keep coming back to Muldoon’s for its warm, welcoming atmosphere where everyone is always glad you came!
Located in the heart of the Carmel Arts District — in what has been called the perfect corner neighborhood bar location — Muldoon’s is celebrating its 10th year in the district. Whether it’s the cozy pub feeling, the inviting fireplace or the summer patio featuring live acoustic music, Muldoon’s is one of Main Street’s favorites.
“People actually laughed at us when we said we were moving to downtown Carmel from our old Rangeline Road location. At that time there wasn’t much here except Old Town Tavern, Woody’s and Bub’s,” remembers co-owner Beth Hohlier. She and business partner Debbie Wineberg have worked in the restaurant business for many years, first as managers of Max & Erma’s and later as owners of the restaurants 126th St. Cafe and Cool Beans.
When Hohlier and Wineberg were presented with an opportunity to purchase Muldoon’s from its owner Fred Cameron in 1993, they jumped at the chance and never looked back.
Hohlier describes the early days when Muldoon’s moved to its current location in the Arts District. “According to one of the city council members, there was concern about the parking downtown and whether people would support businesses here.”
She continued, “We opened unadvertised on Feb. 2, 2004, at 5 p.m. We picked the Monday after the Super Bowl to open, thinking it would be slow and we could all go through the learning curve together. Boy, were we wrong! We were on one- to two-hour waiting lists for the first month we were open! We even caused a traffic jam on Main Street that first weekend.”
Muldoon’s demonstrated to the hesitant city council member and others that people would support businesses in downtown Carmel and find places to park. Their success that first year, and subsequently thereafter, helped the city move forward with the Arts and Design District Plans.
“The Arts District has continued to help our business grow. The city is very supportive and helpful to the merchants. In fact, last year was our busiest year by a mile,” says Hohlier. “We are very proud of that as it’s challenging to keep people interested with other choices available.”
How do they keep folks coming back for more? “Consistency,” offers Hohlier. “We don’t try and do a lot of things in a mediocre way, but rather Debbie and I stick to our basics and do them the very best we can. We have a multiple-award-winning hand-breaded tenderloin, great salads and an amazing Cajun pasta — among other bar and pub fare. We use mostly fresh local ingredients and are so fortunate having Joe’s Butcher Shop next door. You can’t get any fresher than that!”
Just like “Cheers,” regular customers become like family and are part of the character that makes up an establishment. “One of our special regular customers is named Hank. He is 91 years old!” Hohlier relates affectionately. “Hank has been coming to Muldoon’s daily since we opened and always sits at the bar. We love Hank!”
Muldoon’s is likely the oldest, non-chain restaurant in Carmel. To celebrate their 10 years in the district, during the week of Feb. 2, they are offering rollback specials. And when you go to Muldoon’s, make sure to say “cheers” to Norm … or rather, Hank!
Check out Muldoon’s menu and more at muldoons.net.