Bulldog Ale House opens at former Marzano's location in McHenry

McHENRY – McHenry just opened a new alehouse that offers customers a selection of beers and house-made foods.

Bulldog Ale House in McHenry officially opened its doors Wednesday at 1501 Route 31, the former location of Marzano’s Wood Fire Italian restaurant, which closed this year.

“We purchased the business from Marzano’s,” director of operations Paul Marrin said. “And when we opened Wednesday, we already saw a huge crowd.”

Owner Matt Ahmeti said business has been great to start.

“[Wednesday night], we felt actually like we’ve been here for five years,” Ahmeti said.

The restaurant seats about 280 people.

Food items include pizza, wings, sandwiches and burgers, such as the Sriracha Goat featuring roasted red peppers, fresh goat cheese and Sriracha mayonnaise.

“We know about good burgers and American pub foods,” Marrin said. “Ninety percent of our food is made from scratch and in-house. You can really tell in the finished product the quality is different.”

As for alcohol, Bulldog offers its customers a wide selection of craft beers along with hard liquors.

“We do try and support local businesses as well, as we have Crystal Lake Brewing on tap here,” Marrin said.

The staff is a combination of local residents and people who already worked for previous Bulldog locations, Marrin said.

Once training is completed, Marrin said the McHenry location employ about 85 people.

Marrin and Ahmeti contribute their early success to the hardworking staff.

“We’re like a family here, so I think being able to extend that family feeling to the community here is what makes it most special,” Marrin said. “It sounds cliche, but it’s true. You want go someplace where people know you and you feel comfortable going in.”

Ahmeti said the establishment aims to provide that level of comfort.

“Here, we make sure our managers have a personal relationship with customers and that they stop by the tables and greet them,” Ahmeti said.

The McHenry restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Bulldog Ale House also has restaurants in New Lenox, Rolling Meadows and Carol Stream, among other locations.

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