~ Our History ~
MARTIN LYNCH, JOHN CLARKE FOUNDED
CORAL GABLES ICON, JOHNMARTIN’S
Martin Lynch and John Clarke had a lot in common from an early age. They both grew up a mile away from each other in the parish of Killinkere in Ireland. Coincidentally, in the eighties, they both pursued restaurant careers in the United States. Martin worked at Christy’s from 1982- 1988, while John worked at the Hotel Intercontinental and then the Biltmore Hotel as Banquet Chef.
It was in 1987 that the idea was born to join forces and open their own restaurant, aptly called, JohnMartin’s Restaurant and Irish Pub. And their corporate name is the same as their home parish: Killinkere. They opened in 1989 and they were the first Irish restaurant and pub in the area, complete with a 20 foot mahogany bar, wooden flooring and other large scale furniture and fixtures throughout their restaurant imported from a church in Ireland.
In fact, they are credited with changing the whole “spirits industry” landscape among Coral Gables restaurants. It was due to their tenacity that the city ordinance changed their laws so that liquor could be served over a bar. “We had built a bar modeled after pubs in Ireland, only to discover that we couldn’t actually serve liquor at the bar. It had to be served at a table,” he said.
Now 22 years later, the team continues to be innovators, beginning with live musical entertainment, a comedy night, and continuing with the range of menu items to please an ever growing patronage. And they’ve done it throughout with the support of their families.
Martin Lynch is married to Freda, a Baptist Hospital ICU nurse, and they have four children. Martin enjoys golfing and recently returned from a golfing excursion to Spain. John Clarke is married to Barbara, a Montessori elementary school teacher, and they also have four children. John enjoys working in the garden, reminiscent of his native Ireland.
Having built their restaurant into a Coral Gables icon, JohnMartin’s is known for throwing a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day celebration on March 17. “We have thrown the party for 18 years now and we enjoy having the community celebrate the Irish on that day,” John Clarke said. “Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is something that goes beyond our typical, traditional festivities. It’s the Irish way of life to sing and dance with our friends, family and community,” said Martin Lynch, proprietor of JohnMartin’s. “This annual party provides an opportunity for people of all ages to gather and celebrate this great tradition.”
JohnMartin’s has been continually recognized for its cuisine by publications that voted the restaurant Best Pub Food. While the restaurant naturally includes some typical Irish dishes, their selection of entrees is extensive, ranging from typical American to Continental. The restaurant features live entertainment every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, from Contemporary Top 40 hits to rock to today’s popular Irish ballads.