The Gracie Rose: Irish cafe providing a 'taste of home' in Pearl River, Rockland County
By JANE CORSCADDEN – June 23, 2023
The team at the popular Gracie Rose tea room are preparing to celebrate their first anniversary. Situated just 20 miles outside of New York City is the quaint hamlet of Pearl River in Rockland County, an area with a huge Irish population.
In fact, recent statistics from the US Census Bureau show a huge 52% of residents in this suburban area north of the city claim Irish ancestry. The area has a vibrant Irish community, and sports like Gaelic football are played extensively. It’s the perfect spot, then, for the “taste of home” provided by the comforting Irish cafe and import shop, The Gracie Rose.
The business is owned and run by the “three biddies”, Bernie (Foley) Fitzgerald from Co Kerry, with Tara (Tonner) McDonald and Tina (Segatta) Murphy, both of whom grew up together in the small town. The friends have known each other for years and when the opportunity arose to take over ownership of the popular cafe in July 2022, they jumped at the opportunity.
“It was established already as an Irish tea shop and grocer, and we’ve made our own touches too with our gift baskets and catering. We were very blessed in our second week in business, we did the finale for the Real Housewives of New Jersey,” co-owner Tina told IrishStar.com.
“Dolores and Paul are good friends and they happened to be here the very first day we took over, they saw us on the following Tuesday, and we filmed the finale on that day. “It was amazing. Being presented with an opportunity like that during your second week into business is what dreams are made of. We consider them to be family, they always look out for us.”
When it comes to food, The Gracie Rose’s bestsellers are their traditional Irish fry and Ulster fry, with burgers such as their GAA burger (Irish bacon and Irish cheddar) and the Franklin (an American cheeseburger) doing well with customers too.
Dedicated to providing an authentic Irish bakery experience, all items are handmade in-house by their baker, Emma Charlton. Customers can enjoy classics such as fresh scones, apple pie, and apple and mixed berry turnovers. “Our tagline is ‘a taste of home.’ We want people to come in and feel like they’re in someone’s kitchen or living room, sitting around and having a cup of tea or a fry, then picking up your sweets after the fact,” Tina explained.
“We try to include favorites from all of Ireland on our menu and in our import shop, and we include little touches of Irish food with food from the States.” The team at The Gracie Rose is dedicated to serving the Pearl River community through their tea room, which serves as a community hub and meeting point.
But they said they wouldn’t be where they are now without the support of their community who call in for a chat, lunch, or a cup of tea. “We are so lucky and blessed with our clientele, we couldn’t ask for better people,” Tina added. “It’s a place we want you to feel comfortable and at home. People are coming in and we’re asking about their kids; it’s a true community restaurant. “We serve old and young, it doesn’t matter, if you come in, we’ll make you feel at home.”
Originally published on IrishStar.com.