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Napper Tandy's in Walpole, Massachusetts: Classic Irish Pub Atmsophere, Amazing Food, Pool Room Downstairs


Napper Tandy's, Walpole MA
Napper Tandy's, Walpole, Massachusetts.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 3/15/17. All photos by Eric unless otherwise noted.

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Napper Tandy's in Walpole, Mass., is one of those restaurants that has so much appeal in its atmosphere, food and overall spirit that it begs repeated visits.

Formerly the drab, "divey" Kylemore and, most recently, the slightly tired-looking but otherwise worthy Beckett's, Napper Tandy's opened in early April 2014 and is clearly a completely different dining establishment than its predecessors. The restaurant -- housed in a historic Walpole cottage-like building -- now looks like something out of a spectacular HGTV restoration project episode and with food reminiscent of those mouthwatering dishes you'd see on The Food Network.

Walking through the right side door leads to a beautiful, large dining room with gleaming wooden floors, big picture windows, high tables and a long handsome bar. It's cozy, yet vibrant-feeling and 21st-century-relevant like some special casual date night or family-friendly pub you'd find in the big city and not in a quaint New England town like Walpole.

Napper Tandy's large room, Walpole MA
Large dining room and bar at Napper Tandy's in Walpole.

The smaller separate dining room features a charming Irish pub with authentic decor, another fine-looking bar, and tables spaced
Napper Tandy's Pub room, Walpole MA out well enough to not feel cramped. Both rooms have the requisite modern presence of several big screen televisions.

Those two rooms would be enough to make Napper Tandy's Walpole more than appealing, but walk downstairs and you'll find a 6,000 sq. ft. games and billiard center with nine pool tables, darts and a full bar. This concept fills a niche in Walpole as the town has no other restaurant and bar with a dedicated billiards room.

Napper Tandy's Walpole certainly has the looks and opportunity to have some fun, but what about the food, drink, service and pride of ownership?

Fortunately, Napper Tandy's Walpole comes through by surpassing all the criteria of what makes a great overall dining experience for lunch and dinner.

John Jacob and co-owner wife Niamh have gained significant experience owning and operating Napper Tandy's restaurants in Norwood and Roslindale -- as well as Eugene O'Neill's in Jamaica Plain -- to not only make those restaurants successful but take all those years in the industry to make the Walpole location a showpiece.

"We have had a lot of success with Napper Tandy's, and wanted to bring that to Walpole," said Jacob, 43, a resident of the town who originally hails from Kildare, Ireland. "We concentrtate more on the food at the Walpole location. It has been a long time coming at this location and we are happy with the feedback we have received so far."

Napper Tandy's Rool Room, Walpole, Massachusetts
Downstairs pool room at Napper Tandy's.

That "feedback" has been witnessed in the form of full parking lots, and a general buzz around Walpole about positive dining experiences at Napper Tandy's.

Irish pub favorites like Shepard's pie and fish and chips still exist here from the Beckett's days, but the focus is a more well-rounded offering of familiar traditional offerings (like steak tips, chicken parmesan, BBQ mixed grille) and sauteed creative dishes. Highlights include the Haddock Nantucket with herb breadcrumb and New England clam chowder served with rice and sauteed broccoli; and the pan-seared chicken portobello sauteed with portobello mushrooms, white wine and garlic and served with wild rice and seasonal vegetables.

The burgers are about the best one could imagine, certainly surpassing those high profile, trendy burger places that have been in vogue lately. Want proof? Take a look...

Napper Tandy's burger, Walpole MA
Burger from Napper Tandy's.

Clearly not your basic burger, the 100 percent sirloin gem is cooked to perfection and, in this case, accompanied by tasty carmalized onions and a truly fresh, picked-from-the-garden-tasting tomato and salad. If opting for the fries, they are 100 percent hand-cut and out-of-this world delicious.

"Seems like everyone uses kobe and grass fed these days, but we like going with the sirloin and doing it right," said Jacob about the burgers.

Mixed greens salads serve as another popular food category including steak and goat cheese and apple and pecan, as well as a classic Caesar.

Napper Tandy's also offers a nice variety of hand-tossed pan-cooked pizzas and appetizers like coconut curried mussels, curried fries, steak and cheese eggrolls, fried calamari, wings, and twice baked potato skins.

The drinks selection is tremendous with all the usual suspects, plus a great selection of craft beers including several IPAs on tap and selections like Slumbrew out of Somerville, Mass., Pretty Things of Westport, Mass., Notch Brewing Company out of Ipswich, Mass., and the hard-to-find-locally Ommegang from Cooperstown, N.Y.

In the summer, an outdoor patio dining area provides a nice setting! And at nighttime, Napper Tandy's look so warm and inviting -- the kind of place you'd imagine when thinking of the ideal Irish pub...

Napper Tandy's in Walpole, Mass., at night.

It is clear that everything Napper Tandy's offers adds up to one element that Jacob believes is missing in many modern day restaurants -- that is, the art and science of hospitality.

"We are big on service, quality, pricing -- and are big fans of personality," said Jacob. "The bartenders just like to have fun with the guests. We take our time making the food to get it just right. We have a truly talented chef in Marc DiStolfo.  We want our customers to have a real dining experience, not rushed and in a welcoming place."

These are not just words, but a way of life and a requisite business model in the way John and Niamh run Napper Tandy's Walpole. This passionate way of operating a restaurant ultimately proves that tradition always trumps trendiness when dining out, and people have been packing the place to enjoy this long-revered dining out genre.

Napper Tandy's Of Walpole is located at 1065 Main St., Walpole MA. Tel. (508) 668-1191

Related article:
Best Irish pubs from Boston to Worcester

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