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CJ’s Pub set to reopen

Mary Kate Malone | Thursday, September 8, 2005

CJ’s Pub, a 21-year-old restaurant and bar that boasts a thick collection of Irish memorabilia, will reopen to the public next week after a seven month hiatus.

The famous Irish landmark on Michigan Street has been closed since Jan. 19 when a six-story building next door fell on top of it during a demolition process gone terribly wrong.

“It happened at 3:15 in the afternoon,” said Ricky Joe Medich, who co-owns the establishment with his sisters Judy and Cindy. “There were four of us inside. I had just walked in the back door and the whole back of the building just collapsed. If I had been five seconds late walking in, my sister would be telling the story.”

On Sept. 13, the pub will re-open its doors in time for Notre Dame’s first home football game. The food will be the same, but a giant horseshoe bar and 92-inch television will give the place a new look, Medich said. Three plasma TV’s will also be added.

Medich said customers will find the restaurant “opened up.” Instead of two separate rooms there is now one large one with the horseshoe bar in the middle.

A quarter of a million dollars worth of damage forced the pub to close in order to repair the areas that were destroyed from the accident.

“A lot of people drove by and it didn’t look like a lot of damage but we had very, very extensive damage,” Judy Medich said.

Throughout the repair and renovation project the owners have also had to combat rumors circulating Notre Dame websites.

“There were lots of rumors on NDnation – the bad ones being that Ricky is selling, the hospital is buying the property, they are retiring in Aruba,” Ricky Medich said. “But those aren’t true. We’re here for the long haul.”

The owners are planning specials for certain nights of the week to help students get reacquainted with the pub.

“In the beginning we’ll be running a lot of drink specials,” Ricky Medich said. “Tuesday night is student appreciation night – with student IDs we’ll take a dollar off any burgers on the menu and Wednesday night is going to be margarita night.”

Senior Andrew Harkins, who went to CJ’s when he was a sophomore, plans to visit once it reopens.

“I liked CJ’s a lot, the food was really good,” Harkins said. “It was kind of dirty but that’s part of its charm. I am excited that it’s opening.”

Since the accident, Ricky Medich and his siblings have been trying to cope without their chief source of income.

“It’s been a little rough,” Ricky Medich said. “But what happened has happened and we just have to move forward and do the best we can with what we have available – until business picks up.”

Bringing back old regulars shouldn’t pose a problem. The pub has attracted famous Domers since its inception in 1984. It’s a favorite of television personality Regis Philbin, athletic director Kevin White and office of student affairs president Bill Kirk, Ricky Medich said.

“I’m delighted that it’s reopening,” Kirk said. “They’ve got great cheeseburgers. I’m looking forward to it.”