It was one year ago this week that opened its doors in Murrieta.
As proof it has earned itself a reputation among residents, a standing room only crowd filled the Irish pub Wednesday night to help celebrate. The crowd was a mixture of regulars and those who came to hear local bands The Brewer Boys and .
Along with the live entertainment, drink specials were offered and prizes were given throughout the night. Cake was served to all, and the crowd joined in to sing “Happy Birthday.”
Opened by Joe Spellman in 2010, the increasingly popular restaurant and bar is the culmination of Spellman's lifelong dream, made possible by his extensive resume in hospitality.
The menu features dishes from Spellman's travels, including stints working with world-class chefs Todd English and Wolfgang Puck. The result is a combination of food, fun and his favorite sports.
While other restaurants have been at this location in the past, such as Indigo Joe's, Spelly’s seems to have created a much-desired niche with its fresh food, polite staff and sports bar atmosphere.
“I put my blood, sweat and tears into this business,” Spellman said. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for over 30 years, [I believe] we have the best food around.”
His efforts seem to have paid off with the locals.
“It feels like home,” said Temecula resident Owen O’Malley.
Originally from Boston, O'Malley said he enjoys the pub-like atmosphere, the sports memorabilia and the menu.
Most customers agreed, and could not pick a favorite dish from the menu, saying they enjoyed everything.
Keith Kruthaup, a 21-year resident of Murrieta, said, “It’s nice to have a sports bar with good food and where everybody knows your name.
The continuous sports programming is a draw for many.
“They always have a sporting event on television. They have UFC night, NFL football and anything else you can imagine," Kruthaup said.
A unique feature to Spelly’s is the sports memorabilia adorning the walls, which customers can add to.
“You can bring your favorite college banner and they will put it up,” said Murrieta resident Leslie Huscher.
Others said the staff keeps them coming back.
“It’s a great place with great food, a great staff and lots of love,” said regular customer Chris Campana.
While Spellman is not shy about expressing his part in making his business successful, he understands it is not just good management that makes his business. He took the time to address the crowd and thank all those who made Spelly’s one-year anniversary possible.
“I want to thank the wait staff, cooks and all those behind the scenes,” Spellman told the crowd. “I also want to thank you [the customers] for supporting us; let's have another great year."